Iran: appeal hearing for Christian converts in Shiraz
Tehran: March 7, 2018. Iranian Christians request renewed prayer for the 8 March appeal hearing for Eskandar Rezaie and Suroush Saraie. Both were sentenced on 28 December 2017 to a total of eight years in prison.
Both Eskander and Suroush were charged with "acting against national security." Suroush faced an additional charge of "forgery," as the pastor of the Church of Shiraz, for issuing letters for the children of Christian converts seeking exemption from Islamic classes at school.
They attended a court hearing on 28 December 2017, at the 4th branch of the Revolutionary Court in Shiraz. Following the court hearing, Eskandar Rezaie and Suroush Saraie were each sentenced to seven years in prison for "actions against national security" and one year for "propaganda against order in the Islamic Regime". An appeal hearing has been scheduled for 8 March.
Eskandar was arrested on 6 July 2017, at his home in Lar, where several hundred New Testaments were confiscated. He was held at the Quran Branch of Adel-Abad prison in Shiraz. Suroush was also arrested in July. He was initially held at the intelligence offices before also being transferred to Adel-Abad prison. Suroush was released on bail of 350-million Toman (approximately USD 95,000) on 18 October 2017. Eskandar was released on bail of 500-million Toman (approximately USD 140,000) on 25 September 2017.
Both Eskander and Suroush were previously arrested in October 2012 and released after several years in prison.