Date: April 19, 2018
Local sources confirm that after a harrowing 19 months of detention in Evin prison, Hadi Asgari, a Christian convert from Islam, was released after posting bail on 11 April. Bail had been previously refused by the Court of Appeal, but the decision was reconsidered and bail conditions set following a court appearance on 4 February.
Hadi was arrested in August 2016 when security officials interrupted a gathering of Christian families enjoying a picnic in Firuzkuh, north of Tehran. He and pastor Victor Bet Tamraz, also arrested, are appealing ten-year sentences issued 4 July 2017 for “acting against national security”. Fellow Christian convert Amin Nader Afshari was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment on the same charges.
Iranian Christians continue to pray for the successful outcome of a forthcoming appeal hearing. Hadi, Amin and pastor Victor currently await written summonses for hearings now expected to take place in late April or early May.
Local sources confirm that Amin and Hadi remain firm in their faith despite facing ongoing pressure to convert back to Islam, as often experienced by Christian prisoners. Adult male converts from Islam are punishable by death according to sharia law. Iran is one of the few countries of the world where the Islamic death sentence for apostasy is officially available, although it has not been used since 1990.