According to Iranian Christian news agency, Mohabat News, reports have been received stating that Farshid Fathi, a Christian prisoner, received a 6 year sentence by the Iranian Revolutionary court.
Farshid Fathi, whose trial had been postponed several times by judicial authorities, was eventually tried on January, 2012 in a court based in Evin prison after more than one year of uncertainty.
Although the details of his court session have not been published, a knowledgeable source according to the issued verdict said that the court announced his accusations as, "action against the regime's security, being in contact with foreign organizations and religious propaganda".
The source told Mohabat News that Mr. Fathi's case will be sent to an appeal court after his attorney submits his appeal of the 6 year prison sentence. The source believes that the appeal court might change this ruling.
This sentence has been issued after Mr. Fathi was held in custody illegally and in total uncertainty for the past 15 months.
Issuance of such an unjustified sentence by the Islamic Republic's judicial system for a Christian convert whose only crime is practicing his Christian faith, contravenes international laws and the Human Rights convention that the Islamic Republic has signed and is obliged to follow.
Farshid Fathi is currently held in the ward 350 of Evin prison.
- Dealing with Christian converts
Farshid Fathi has spent several months in solitary confinement and has never received a leave permission during his imprisonment. In order to put more mental pressure on him as Norouz celebrations were approaching, the interrogators and prison guards agreed to temporarily free him, but as he was about to leave the ward 209, they stopped and returned him to his cell in solitary confinement.
Farshid Fathi, was born in 1979. He is married and the father of two children. Mr. Fathi was arrested by security authorities in Tehran on December 26, 2010 as part of a crackdown before New Year celebrations.
Some 60 Christian citizens and members of house churches in Tehran and other cities were arrested during that highly coordinated and pre-organized attack by security authorities. The accusations announced to the families of these Christian detainees were as follows, conversion (apostasy), evangelism, having contact with Christian organizations.
The day after this incident, the regime's media started to publish this news and announced that the heads of evangelical Christianity in Tehran had been arrested. Morteza Tamadon, the Governor of Tehran, described these detained Christians as "extremists" who "penetrate the body of Islam like corrupt and deviant people". According to Iran's official news service, he told about these Christians' relations with England. This is a common accusation that Iran makes against its opponents stating that they are supported by the west. Tehran's governor added, "this movement was seeking to establish an extreme form of Christianity like the Taliban and Wahhabis in Islam. They were tracked and some of their leaders fell into the trap and the initial strike was made against them!" He also noted that he would increase the pressures against, and arrests of evangelical Christians.
Right after Mr. Tamadon made this speech and after the Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei made another speech saying that house churches should be dealt with, a new wave of surveillance and arrests was initiated against Christian converts in Iran.
This new wave of pressure increased after the 2011 New Year and has continued ever since. According to the annual report on arrests of Christian converts in Iran in 1390 (Persian year, 2011-2012) published by Mohabat News, a great number of Iranian Christians were summoned in different cities across Iran and some were arrested. These Christians, mostly converts from Islam, were prosecuted as the Islamic Republic authorities claim, for being actively involved in evangelical activities.