KARAJ, Iran — Three men, on June 26, became the first Christians punished under a newly-amended Iranian law to stop growth of Christianity and non-Muslim religions.
Amin Khaki, Milad Goudarzi and Alireza Nourmohammadi received the maximum sentence of five years in prison and were fined 40 million tomans (US$1,600) for spreading “propaganda” against Islam. They were sentenced under Article 500, which states that “any deviant education or propaganda that contradicts or interferes with the sacred Sharia (Islamic law) will be severely punished.”
The three plan to appeal the court decision.
The amended law, which went into effect March 5, increases prison terms and allows the state to deny certain rights, such as voting, for as long as 15 years.
Previously, Christians typically received a six-month sentence, a source said.
Religious freedom activists warn that the amended law could be used to target religious dissidents and minorities.
Iran is No. 8 on Open Doors’ 2021 World Watch List of places most difficult to be a Christian.