May 5, 2012
After detaining 33-year-old Christian pastor Farshid Fathi for 16 months without indictment, Iranian judicial authorities finally sentenced him to six years in prison, the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran reports. Authorities allegedly kept Fathi in solitary confinement the vast majority of his detention, and according to one family friend, beat him. A source close to his family said Fathi's only "crime" was his work as a pastor: "The Bibles we brought to the country were seen as a crime, having more than one Bible or distributing Bibles were seen as a crime, having Christian literature was part of the crime." According to the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, Fathi's sentence is part of a continuing pattern of discrimination and prosecution of Christian converts in Iran; Christian pastors especially often face harsher forms of prosecution, such as longer prison sentences, than other persecuted Christians.