The Iranian government particularly targets converts to Christianity, as it considers them to be apostate and threats to the state as it is constituted. That is why converts are frequently charged with offenses such as “actions against national security” and “propaganda against the system,” solely for practicing the Christian faith.

Iranian law grants some limited freedoms to the Christians, but they are generally not considered applicable to converts from Islam to Christianity, who are all too often considered enemies of the state, as we see in this case. The U.S. State Department has classified Iran as a “country of particular concern” for “having engaged in or tolerated particularly severe violations of religious freedom.”

The Order of Saint Andrew the Apostle, Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, requests that the government of Iran grant full religious freedom to all of its citizens, not interfering with their freedom of worship in any way, and immediately clear these seven converts.

For previous coverage of Iran, see here.

“Christian converts seek retrials from Iran’s Supreme Court,” Article 18, April 22, 2021:

Iran’s Supreme Court is considering the retrial petitions for two high-profile cases involving Christian converts.

The first relates to the prison sentences given to a 62-year-old man with advanced Parkinson’s disease, Homayoun Zhaveh, and his wife Sara Ahmadi, 43, for belonging to a house-church.

The second concerns a court’s decision to remove a two-year-old girl from her adoptive parents, Sam Khosravi and Maryam Falahi, because they are Christian converts and the girl, Lydia, is considered Muslim.

Both cases have drawn international attention and opprobrium, and both are time-sensitive.

Just last month, Homayoun and Sara were summoned to Tehran’s Evin Prison to begin their sentences, while Lydia could be take from Sam and Maryam’s care any day.

Hossein Ahmadiniaz, an Iranian rights lawyer now based in Europe, told Article18: “Considering that these cases are considered ‘security’ cases, and therefore the Ministry of Intelligence oversees them, of course this illegal practice undermines the principle of judicial independence and undermines a fair and just trial.

“However, if the judges act with honour, there is still the possibility they may accept the retrials and overturn the verdicts.”

Article18’s advocacy director, Mansour Borji, gave this reaction:

“Just to know that the highest court in the land now has the power to rule in these cases is something to be thankful for, because even should the Supreme Court reject these cases – either now, or following a retrial – it would mean the Iranian regime would be forced to take responsibility for these unjust verdicts, and therefore leave them with no leg to stand on if they continue to claim that Christians enjoy equal rights and that no-one is persecuted on account of their beliefs in Iran.”…