Twelve Iranian Christians converts have each been sentenced to one year in prison for “propaganda” against the state and for “inclination to the land of Christianity”.
The twelve converts were originally arrested in the Iranian port city of Bushehr in 2015 and were released on bail while the case against them was processed.
The sentencing judge found all twelve guilty of “propaganda activities against the Islamic Republic of Iran” and of being “in favour of ‘Zionist’ Christianity by holding house churches, inviting people to Christianity, and inclination to the land of Christianity.” The verdict was handed down on 20 June 2018, but was only recently reported.
Payam Kharamam, one of the converts, described how interrogators seemed to be looking for the Christians to confess to communication abroad, specifically with America, Britain and Israel. This accusation appears to be behind the allegation of “inclination to the land of Christianity”.
Although Payam was only arrested in 2015, he was harassed for several years: “The pressure and harassment of the security forces on me began in early 2012, and I was repeatedly summoned [by police] … and interrogated about evangelism and communication with abroad … Because I had a boutique shop in Bushehr, a number of officers’ family members in the office knew me and informed … against me.”