The Court of Appeal of the Islamic Republic currently upheld the sentences of Pastor Victor Bet-Tamraz and his wife Shamiram Issavi, who were sentenced under pressure.
The couple was accused of carrying out «evangelical activities», «acting against national security by establishing and running house churches».
The case against Pastor Victor Bet-Tamraz and his wife, Shamiram Issavi, goes back three years. They were legally required to report to prison authorities within five days, according to Open Doors.
For participating in a house church
Six years ago, in the middle of a Christmas party, oppression began in the couple’s lives. Ten plainclothes officers entered the pastor’s house and confiscated many personal items, including Bibles, cell phones, and identification documents.
In the same trial, three other newly converted Iranian Christians also received lengthy sentences.
Police officials said they were attending an «illegal and unauthorized meeting» and forced them to fill out forms. They were recorded explaining why they had met.
After several hours of filming and interrogation, the officers arrested Victor, Amin Afshar-Naderi and Kavian Fallah-Mohammadi and transferred them to Evin prison, where they were held in solitary confinement for 65 days.
Sentenced under pressure
After three years the converts were finally sentenced along with their pastor and a third convert, Hadi Asgari, was found guilty in July 2017 for his involvement in «house churches».
Ms. Issavi was also sentenced to 5 years in prison in 2018 on charges of «membership of a group to disrupt national security» and «gathering and colluding to commit crimes against national security».
«Pastor Bet-Tamraz and Shamiram Issavi are innocent of the charges against them, but like other Christians in their position, they were convicted for exercising their right to freedom of religion or belief,» said Mervyn Thomas, executive president of Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW).
Over time, human rights organizations have repeatedly called for a fair trial for Iranian Christians.
By February 2017, four independent UN human rights journalists warned of serious discrimination against Iranian religious minorities. They called on the authorities of the Islamic Republic to ensure that the trials of Christian citizens are fair.
It should be noted that the Constitution of the Islamic Republic recognizes as religious minorities only the followers of the three religions: Judaism, Zoroastrianism and Christianity. However, none of them, not even Iranian Sunni Muslims, could perform their rituals in complete freedom.
*Update* Het voorgangersechtpaar Victor en Shamiram Bet-Tamraz is afgelopen zaterdag #Iran ontvlucht. Beiden waren veroordeeld tot een gevangenisstraf vanwege het leiden van een huiskerk en het opvangen van ex-moslims. ? https://t.co/kh106mQD29 #vervolgdekerk pic.twitter.com/Dz9AYz8XTZ
— Open Doors (@opendoorsnl) August 20, 2020