Mohabat News — Iranian judicial authorities denied Iranian Christian, Hadi Asgari, temporary release on bail, ordering him to be kept in the infamous Evin prison until his appeals court hearing.
Asgari’s family made every effort in their ability to secure his temporary release before Norouz (Persian New Year). However, Iranian authorities postponed any review of his case to 20 days after the Persian new year. He has been held in jail for 19 months without leave.
Asgari’s family had to overcome financial challenges in order to gather enough resources to post bail for their loved one’s release. Now that they have enough to post the bail, authorities hinder his temporary release.
Spokesperson for Article 18 ministries, Kiarash Aalipour told Mohabat News, “Previously, Hadi’s family did not have sufficient financial ability to post the heavy bail required for his release. Now that they have pulled their resources together and have their finances ready the judge brings various excuses to postpone his release on bail.” His family had hoped he would be temporarily released until he is called to the appeals court where he hopes his 10 year sentences will be re-considered.
Hadi Asgari was tried in branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court in Tehran on July 3, 2017. He was found guilty of threatening national security through evangelism and sentenced to 10 years in prison. Additionally, after serving the 10 year term in prison, he will be banned from leaving the country for 2 years.
Another Christian convert arrested at the same time as Hadi Asgari is Amin Afshar Naderi who was sentenced to 15 years in prison. Both these Christians prisoners went on a hunger strike to protest unfair handling of their cases. Naderi is currently released on bail.
During the raid to arrest Naderi and Asgari, 13 more Christians were arrested in a gathering in a garden in Firuzkuh in August 2016. While investigation of their case was still underway, Naderi and Asgari spent 82 days in solitary confinement in the notorious 209 ward of Evin prison. Later they were transferred to ward 4 of the prison.
It is common for political prisoners and prisoners of conscience to be released on bail before the Persian new year. This year also many political and religious prisoners were released on bail but Hadi Asgari was not allowed to post bail for his release to celebrate the new year with his family.
The Islamic regime of Iran is regularly criticized for violating religious rights of its citizens, especially Christian converts and Baha’is. Christian converts have been facing continuous persecution from the government since the Islamic Revolution of 1979./FARSI