Nine Iranian Christians Lose Appeals Against Five-Year Sentences

(Article18) Nine Christian converts have lost their appeals against five-year prison sentences, though none of the men, nor their lawyers, were permitted to attend the Feb. 25 hearing.

A lawyer for one of the men told Article18 that Iran is attempting to expedite its judicial processes due to a backlog of cases related to recent protests and a general slowdown as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

The nine Christians — Abdolreza Ali Haghnejad, Shahrooz Eslamdoost, Behnam Akhlaghi, Babak Hosseinzadeh, Mehdi Khatibi, Khalil Dehghanpour, Hossein Kadivar, Kamal Naamanian and Mohammed Vafada — were sentenced in October to five years in prison for their Christian activities, which were deemed “actions against national security.”

Five of the men — Abdolreza, Shahrooz, Behnam, Babak and Mehdi — have been in Tehran’s Evin Prison since July.

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