Status of five Iranian Christian prisoners in Evin Prison still uncertain

Status of five Iranian Christian prisoners in Evin Prison still uncertain

Published by on October 7, 2016

5-missing-christiansFamilies of five Christian prisoners arrested in Firouz-Kouh County are concerned about the prolonged detention of their loved ones as they fear Iranian intelligence forces may try to fabricate accusations against them and pressure them to confess to what intelligence forces need for their false charges.
The Iranian judicial system is notorious for keeping political prisoners and prisoners of conscience in uncertainty for long periods without officially laying charges against them and the five Christians arrested in Firouz-Kouh County are no exception.
It was more than a month ago when these Christian men were arrested in a family party and their families still do not know the reason for their arrest.
Even by Iranian laws, this long period of detention without officially charging the detainees is illegal and violates their basic right of having access to a lawyer. No one is allowed to visit the detainees at this stage, not even their attorneys.
On August 26, 2016, Iranian police raided a family party being held in a garden in Firouz-Kouh county, near Tehran. They immediately put 17 of those present under arrest, but only took five of them with them to Evin prison. Those taken to Evin prison that evening were Ramil Bet-Tamraz, Amin Afshar Naderi, Hadi Asgari, Mohammad Dehnavi and Amir Saman Dashti.
The families of those taken to Evin prison did not know their whereabouts until three of them were allowed to contact their families briefly after days in detention.
Some reports indicate that the Iranian police have sealed the garden these families had gathered in. There are signs outside the garden stating that the garden has been sealed by the government and no one, including the owner, is allowed to enter.
Ramil Bet-Tamraz, is the son of the Assyrian pastor, Victor Bet-Tamraz, former leader of the Pentecostal Assyrian Church in Tehran. Reports indicate that he suffers from a number of health issues and the conditions in Evin prison are putting his health at serious risk.
Also, the families of these Christian prisoners report that some of them have been fired from their jobs due to their long absence.
Two of these prisoners, Ramil Bet-Tamraz and Amin Afshar Naderi, had been arrested in 2014 and were released on bail, which makes the situation worse for them.
The greatest concern of the families of these Christian men is that the authorities may fabricate charges against them, as they found three Bibles in their gathering. They are also concerned that authorities would put their loved ones under pressure, forcing them to confess to crimes they have not committed.

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Abolish death penalty

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Dear Secretary General of United Nations,

The number of executions is rising in Iran, journalists are being detained for doing their job and activists face cruel and degrading punishments, long prison terms and even execution. According to the most recent reports by Amnesty International and the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, “Iran’s judiciary continues to sentence child offenders to death, and carry out their execution by hanging”. Also, on August 9th, 2016 the son of late Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, Khomeini’s designated successor in 1988, published a shocking audio tape of his father’s meeting with the “Death Commission” which summarily and extra-judicially executed tens of thousands of political prisoners held in jails across Iran. The massacre was carried out on the basis of a fatwa by the regime’s then-Supreme Leader Khomeini.

We, the undersigned, hereby urge you to take up this issue and raise it in the General Assembly in order to;

1. Put pressure on Iran to immediately halt the executions and abolish death penalty in Iran.
2. Call on all Western governments to make any improvement in economic relations with Iran contingent on its human rights record.
3. Demand in its resolution on human rights violations in Iran, to bring the perpetrators of 1988 massacre (one of the worst atrocities the post-war world has ever seen – Geoffrey Robertson-QC) to justice before an international tribunal.

Executions must stop.

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