Christians doing missionary work in Iran have been sentenced to 10 years in prison.
A judge in Iran has sentenced four Christians to 10 years imprisonment each for engaging in missionary activities and “conducting activities against national security”, according to Christian Solidarity Worldwide.
The four, one an Iranian national, and the others from the Republic of Azerbaijan were arrested in 2016 after traveling to Tehran to visit their Christian friends.
They were released on bail more than four months later and returned to their home country.
Mansour Borji, advocacy director of Article 18, an organisation that defends persecuted Christians in the Shia Muslim majority country said: “This recent verdict by Iran’s revolutionary court is particularly alarming, as many other Iranian Christians are still awaiting trial for exercising their right to worship as Christians in the privacy of their homes.”
According to records compiled by Article 18, in the last three months at least 16 Christians have been sentenced to between five and 10 years imprisonment.
CSW’s chief executive Mervyn Thomas said the sentence was “clearly issued on a punitive rather than on a legal basis” adding, ”The constant harassment of members of the Christian community ought not to be occurring in a country where the constitution not only recognises Christianity, but also states that no-one should be molested or taken to task simply for holding a religious belief.