TEHRAN, Iran — A Christian couple was released from prison May 9 after an Iranian judge struck down their convictions.
Morning Star News reports that the couple — Homayoun Zhaveh, 64, and wife Sara Ahmadi, 45 — had served nine months of their sentences. Quoting advocacy group Article 18, the report says an appeals court judge in Tehran overturned the couple’s 2022 convictions, ruling that their participation in home meetings did not break national security laws.
Morning Star sources say the judge’s decision “broke with common judicial practice in the country and ruled that home church participation was not illegal.”
“In his ruling, the judge found that belonging to or participating in a ‘home-group’ with people of the same faith was not illegal but ‘natural,’” reported Morning Star.
Ahmadi was convicted in November 2020 of “founding or leading an organization that aims to disrupt national security,” as well as “membership in organizations that aim to disrupt national security.” Her 11-year sentence later was reduced to eight years.
Zhaveh, who has advanced Parkinson’s disease, had been sentenced to two years for participating in a house church.
Iran is No. 8 on Open Doors’ 2023 World Watch List of places most difficult to be a Christian.