Iran court upholds practicing Christianity sentence
US rights group, Iranian Christian news outlet slam decision to uphold 6-year prison term imposed on Farshid Fat’hi.
Iranian courtroom Photo: REUTERS/Fars News
BERLIN – Iran’s court of appeals upheld last week a six-year prison term imposed on Farshid Fat’hi for practicing Christianity.
Iran’s mullah establishment has ramped up its incarceration of Christian pastors and activists.
The Farsi Christian News Network (FCNN) cited on its website Friday a report from the Tehran-based, Persian-language Haran News Agency that Christian activist and House Church organizer Fat’hi was sentenced to a six-year prison term, based on charges of “acting against national security through membership of the Christian organization Ilam, collection of funds and propaganda against the Islamic Regime by helping spread Christianity in the country.”
According to FCNN, Fat’hi converted to Christianity and was one of a high number of Christian activists arrested by the security agencies of the Islamic Republic during Christmas 2010.
In an email to The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday, Jordan Sekulow, executive director of the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), wrote: “Iran continues to persecute Christians simply because of their religious beliefs. Sadly, this nation is one of the world’s worst offenders when it comes to abusing religious and human rights.”
“Iran would prefer that the outside world never know what’s happening to these pastors – the imprisonment, the torture, and the executions,” Sekulow, whose organization aims to promote religious freedom abroad, said. “Iran must be held accountable for this abhorrent behavior. Iran needs to know that the world is watching.”
ACLJ launched a global campaign to urge Iranian authorities to release Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, who has spent over 1,000 days in prison because he sought to register a home church and questioned the compulsory Islamic education of his children. Iran’s judiciary seeks to execute Nadarkhani.
In addition to FCNN and Haran, the Persian-language diaspora website Peykeiran reported on the sentence of Fat’hi.
FCNN noted that “Farshid Fat’hi is, now more than ever, in need of your and the church’s support and prayers. His sense of pride in the service of God is shared by all Iranian-Christians. United in Christ, we call for his immediate freedom from this grossly unfair sentence.”