An appeal court in Iran has upheld a ten-year prison sentence against four Christians accused of “promoting Zionist Christianity” and propagating house churches. The lawyer representing Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, Mohammad-Reza Omidi, Yasser Mossayebzadeh, and Saheb Fadaie received the notice on 2 May.
Pastor Youcef and Mohammad-Reza were also sentenced to two years’ internal exile to an area far away from their families. Additionally, Yasser, Saheb and Mohammad-Reza face a sentence of 80 lashes for the consumption of wine, since they were arrested while taking communion in May 2016.
In another case, an appeal hearing for Shamiram Isavi Khabizeh, wife of pastor Victor Bet Tamraz, was held on 9 May. Shamiram was sentenced in January to five years in prison for acting against the regime by organising small groups, attending seminary abroad, and training church leaders and pastors “to act as spies.”
During Shamiram’s appeal, the judge accused her entire family of various crimes. She was not allowed to speak in response, except through her lawyer. No date has been set for a further appeal hearing.
According to Middle East Concern, sentences for Iranian Christians have become increasingly harsh in the past year. Despite this, Christians remain bold in sharing their faith.
Sources: Middle East Concern, World Watch Monitor, Mission Network News