A Tehran court of appeals upheld the 35-year prison terms for three Iranian Christian converts. According to human rights websites, Hadi Asgari and Kavian Fallah Mohammadi were each sentenced to 10 years of prison while Amin Afshar Naderi was sentenced to 15 years in prison.
The first session of the appeals court for the Iranian Christian converts, chaired by Judge Hassan Babaei, was held in late April 2018.
Before this on June 21, a Bushehr Revolutionary Court in southern Iran charged seven Iranian Christian converts to “spreading propaganda against the state” because of their religious beliefs and peaceful activities. The seven men and women were sentenced to prison, exile, a financial penalty, and a ban on work and social activities.
According to Iranian law, evangelism, missionary work, and converting to Christianity can be a crime meriting a sentence of more than 10 years imprisonment. The distribution of Christian literature in Persian is currently illegal in Iran.
There is officially no crime known as apostasy in the penal code (although there was a law about it prior to 1994). The last known execution for this crime was in 1990. However, despite there being no official civil law of apostasy, judges may still convict a defendant of that crime if they rule based on religious fatwas.
According to Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship, and observance.”