Unprecedented Bail Demand for Iranian House Church Leader

(Article18) The family of an Iranian-Armenian house church leader who remains in detention more than three weeks after his arrest has been told they must deposit 3 billion tomans (around $150,000) for his bail.

This is twice the previous highest amount demanded to secure the release of a Christian prisoner of conscience.

Joseph Shahbazian, 56, was arrested on the evening of June 30 as part of a coordinated operation targeting dozens of house church members across three cities.

Article18 can now confirm that at least 35 Christians were either arrested or interrogated following the coordinated raids on homes and house churches in Tehran, Karaj and Malayer on June 30 and July 1, a number that may eventually rise to above 50.

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