Three Iranian Christians get 10 years in jail for 'illegal' church activity

ReutersWomen worship as part of Iran's Christian community, which is growing despite persecution.

Three Iranian Christians have been sentenced to at least ten years in jail, charged with blasphemy and 'acting against national security' for their church-related activity.

The Iranian Christian community are appealing for prayer as the faith community continues to suffer under repeated threats of imprisonment from the government. Persian-speaking churches in the Muslim country are illegal, forcing many 'underground'.

The latest case has seen three Christian men sentenced to upwards of ten years in jail each for 'illegal' Christian activities, according to BosNewsLife.

The lawyer for Pastor Victor Bet Tamraz, Amin Afshar Naderi, and Hadi Asgari planned to challenge the court's decision this week.

The decision by Ahmadpour was announced earlier this week: sentencing Tamraz and Asagri to ten years in prison and Naderi to 15 years. Ahmadpour reportedly also raised the cost of bail for the men to 200 million Tomans (about $60,000) each.

Tamraz's crimes included 'conducting evangelism', the printing and distribution of Bibles and 'illegal house church activities'. His son and wife are also awaiting court hearings for their Christian activity.

Naderi was charged with an oft-cited crime in Iran, 'acting against national security'. As a former Muslim who converted to Christianity, he was also charged with blasphemy. Asgari, another Muslim convert, was charged similarly alongside an accusation of 'organizing and creating house churches'.

The news comes as four other Iranian Christians were sentenced to ten years in jail each in June, according to Christian Solidarity Worldwide.

In published remarks, Iranian Christians prayed for those detained, and asked 'that those responsible for the persecution of Christians in Iran will love mercy, act justly, learn about Jesus and choose to follow Him.'