UN to Iran: Give Christians a fair trial

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Four U.N. human rights experts have risen up against the unjust persecution of Christians in Iran. They issued a joint statement, urging Iran to ensure a fair and transparent final hearing at the country’s Revolutionary Court for three Iranian Christians who have been sentenced for conducting evangelism and illegal house church activities, among other charges.

The U.N. special rapporteurs on the human rights situation in Iran, freedom of religion, minority issues and the right to health have expressed their concerns over last year’s sentencing of Pastor Victor Bet Tamraz, former Assyrian Pentecostal Church leader in Iran, and house church Christians Amin Afshar Naderi and Hadi Asgari, to between 10 and 15 years in prison for various charges.

The Revolutionary Court was due to hold a hearing in the case Sunday but it is not still known if the court ended the case, confirmed the sentences or referred it to the Supreme Court.

The U.N. experts said the charges and sentences were “completely contrary” to Iran’s obligations under international law. “We are additionally concerned about the lack of health care made available to them while in detention and, in particular, about the current health condition of Mr. Asgari, who remains in prison.”

They noted, “Members of the Christian minority in Iran, particularly those who have converted to the faith, are facing severe discrimination and religious persecution.”

The independent U.N. experts urged “the government to immediately and unconditionally release all those who have been arrested and detained for exercising their right to freedom of religion or belief.”

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