Iranian-Armenian pastor – 10 years’ imprisonment
Barnabas Fund – 10 May 2022
An Iranian-Armenian pastor has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for running a “house church” in Tehran. Anooshavan Avedian was also sentenced to 10 years of “deprivation of social rights” – restrictions on his employment, for example – on his release from prison.
Two church members, Abbas Soori and Maryam Mohammadi, both converts from Islam, were also sentenced to 10 years’ deprivation of rights and a 2-year ban on travelling abroad or joining any social group, 2-year exile from Tehran province, and fined £1,400.
Anooshavan was convicted of, “establishing and leading an illegal group aimed to disrupt the security of the country through educational and propaganda activities contrary to and disturbing to the holy religion of Islam”.
The three were arrested after a raid on the house church in August 2020, held in Tehran’s notorious Evin Prison, and subjected to solitary confinement and interrogation.
Other church members were forced to sign documents promising not to attend further house church meetings or make contact with any other Christians.
Farsi-speaking Christians are converts from Islam – that is, apostates – and punishable according to Islamic law.