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Iran: appeal hearing for sentenced Christians from Rasht

Tehran: October 4, 2017. (Middle East Concern) Iranian Christians request prayer for Christian converts Yousef Nadarkhani, Mohammadreza Omidi, Yasser Mossayebzadeh and Saheb Fadaie. Their lawyer has received notice that an appeal hearing will be held at 36th Branch of the Revolutionary Court in Tehran on Wednesday, 4th October 2017.

Their lawyer has appealed the 10-year prison sentences the three received for propagating house churches and promoting "Zionist Christianity". The verdict was dated 24th June but was received on 6th July.

Yousef and Mohammadreza have also been sentenced to 2 years' exile; Yousef in Nik Shahr and Mohammadreza in Borazjan. Both of these locations are in the south of the country, far away from their families in Rasht.

As they were taking communion at the time of their arrest, on 13th May, 2016, Yasser, Saheb and Mohammadreza were in a separate court case charged with consumption of alcohol. On 10th September, 2016, they were sentenced to 80 lashes each. Their appeal against this sentence remains outstanding.

Four of the those sentenced, Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani, Mohammadreza Omidi (Youhan), Yasser Mossayebzadeh and Saheb Fadaie, are expected to face another hearing on 4 October (see MEC update above). The judge hearing the case has been accused of overseeing miscarriages of justice, and is on a list of Iranian officials targeted for financial sanctions by the UK.

Meanwhile, more Christians are being brought before court on unjust charges, including the wife and son of Reverend Bet-Tamraz, who is one of the 12 Christians appealing their harsh sentences.