Iranian Christians request prayer prior to a second court hearing for Yousef Nadarkhani, Yaser Mosibzadeh, Saheb Fadayee and Mohammed Reza Omidi on charges of action against national security.
Yaser, Saheb and Mohammed Reza were arrested at a house church gathering in Rasht on 13 May and charged with “action against national security”. They were released on bail after several weeks in detention. Their pastor, Yousef Nadarkhani, and his wife, Fatemeh (Tina) Pasandideh, were arrested at the same time but were not detained. However, Yousef was also later charged with “action against national security”. All four were summoned to the Revolutionary Court in Rasht on 15 October, but the judge did not issue a verdict. The second hearing is scheduled for 14 December.
In addition, Yaser, Saheb and Mohammed Reza faced charges related to consumption of alcohol, for drinking wine during a communion service. After a court hearing on 10 September, they were each sentenced to 80 lashes, but they are appealing this verdict. The appeal hearing is scheduled for 9 February 2017.
Drinking alcohol is not illegal for Christians in Iran, but under applicable Islamic law it is prohibited for Muslims. The charges brought against Christian converts reflect the state view that a Muslim cannot change his or her religion.
Source: Middle East Concern