Iranian Christians Sentenced

Laura Murray By Laura Murray, 22nd Oct 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>News>Politics

Two pastors and a deacon were sentenced to 6 years each in isolated prisons for crimes against national security, a ruse for targeting Christians in Iran. Silas Rabbani, Benham Irani, and Matthias Haghnejad will face prison time for their faith.

Overview

Names: Silas Rabbani, Benham Irani, and Matthias Haghnejad
Nationality: Iranian
Sentence: 6 years each in isolated prisons
Crime: Crimes Against National Security

On October 21, 2014, it was reported that two pastors and one deacon had been handed down their sentences. They will each be serving six years in prison for crimes against national security. These three Christians have been targeted in Iran because of their beliefs and charged with crimes.

History of Silas Rabbani

On May 5, Silas Rabbani, an associate pastor at a church in Karaj, Iran, and a married father of two, was arrested by agents of Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and National Security (VEVAK). According to Present Truth Ministries, Silas' home had been raided in December 2013 while he was away and a laptop and Christian materials were seized from his home. In January, he was brought in by VEVAK and interrogated for eight hours before being released.

Rabbani was brought into court on May 6 and was able to see his wife there. "He told her that they beat him during interrogation," Jason DeMars of Present Truth told International Christian Concern (ICC). "They told him in court that he is an apostate," DeMars continued. Rabbani is now being held in Rajai Shahr prison in Karaj. It is unknown if formal charges have been brought against Rabbani.

Rabbani is the third leader connected with the same church that has been taken into custody. Amin Khaki was detained in Shoush, Iran on March 5 and remains in custody.

History of Benham Irani

Benham Irani is presently serving a total of six years in Rajai Shahr prison. He has previously reported of the harsh treatment he has endured during his imprisonment.

Irani was first arrested in December 2006 and tried for crimes against national security. He was released in January 2007 but soon re-arrested, tried and sentenced to five years in prison. Although sentenced, he was never called to serve the sentence.

Irani was convicted of crimes against national security in January 2011 after the Iranian intelligence service raided his home and assaulted him. He was sentenced to one year in prison, which he voluntarily served. After surrendering to authorities, he was told that he had to serve five more years for a previous conviction.

While in prison, Irani has suffered tremendously. He has served much time in solitary confinement and been the victim of abuse. He is suffering from severe internal bleeding and colon complications. Although he received surgery, his health has remained poor.

Irani's most recent sentence of 6 years will be added to the remaining years he has yet to serve for the previous convictions.

History of Matthias Haghnejad

Pastor Matthias, from Bandar Anzali, was arrested along with two friends on July 30. Bibles, computers, and pamphlets were confiscated when Iranian security forces entered their home. These three had previously been arrested in 2012 during a prayer meeting and have already served jail sentences three times.

According to reports received by CSW, on 3 August Pastor Matthias was interrogated by Judge Mohammad Yari of the Sixth Branch of the Revolutionary Tribunal of Karaj for two hours before being charged with “Moharebeh”. The Rouhani presidency has already seen eight men executed in regards to this type of charge.

On October 21, Pastor Matthias avoided the death penalty and will serve 6 years in an isolated prison.

Sentencing


Irani will be serving his second set of 6 years in the northern city of Zabol. The other two will serve their sentences on the island of Minab.

Christian Solidarity Worldwide Chief Operating Officer Andy Dipper said, "We are particularly appalled by the extra six years given to pastor Irani, who has already endured ill-treatment whilst in prison and now faces nearly a decade in prison on trumped-up charges. We urge the Iranian government to release without delay every person who is imprisoned for their faith. Their incarceration contravenes international covenants guaranteeing freedom of religion or belief, to which Iran is party."

About the Author

Laura left government service as an intelligence analyst on crime, drugs, and terrorism, to pursue writing. She started analyzing Christian persecution around the world and became a de facto expert on the subject. Laura strives to relate hard-to-get, complex information to her readers. Creating her own databases of information and working hard to create world wide networking partners, she is able to provide timely and detailed analysis on the issue. She also provides a one-stop-shop for prisoner information, persecuted stories, statistical analysis, and more. To connect with her via social media and/or to see more of her work, go to her website.

Tags

Benham Irani, Christian Persecution, Christians, Crimes Against National Security, Iran, Iranian Pastors, Iranian Prisoners Iranian Christians, Matthias Haghnejad, Mois, Pastors, Persecution, Presecuted, Prisoners, Silas Rabbani

Meet the author

author avatar Laura Murray
My passions in writing are in Christian persecution and food/health. I also love to pursue topics in terrorism and intelligence as my experience and education are in these areas.

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Comments

author avatar AjaySinghChauhan
25th Oct 2014 (#)

very good post and thanks for sharing it with us.

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