Iran General NewsIran pastor in jail over politics, not religion: judiciary

Iran pastor in jail over politics, not religion: judiciary

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AFP: Iran’s judiciary said Monday that a former navy officer and born-again Christian, Pastor Hamid Pourmand, was in jail for breaking the law and not because of his religion.
Judiciary spokesman Jamal Karimi-Rad said Pastor Pourmand had been “involved in a political group” while still serving in the armed forces, something which is forbidden by Iranian law. AFP

TEHRAN – Iran’s judiciary said Monday that a former navy officer and born-again Christian, Pastor Hamid Pourmand, was in jail for breaking the law and not because of his religion.

Judiciary spokesman Jamal Karimi-Rad said Pastor Pourmand had been “involved in a political group” while still serving in the armed forces, something which is forbidden by Iranian law.

“He appealed the three year sentence, but the appeal court upheld the lower court’s conviction,” the spokesman told reporters.

A number of Christian websites and lobby groups have accused Iran’s Shiite Muslim regime of targetting Pourmand because of his involvement with the Assemblies of God church in Bushehr, southern Iran.

There have even been warnings that he could face charges of apostacy, a capital offence in the Islamic republic. In his weekly press conference, Karimi-Rad made no mention of Pourmand’s religious leanings.

The pastor was arrested in Karaj, near Tehran, in September last year along other church members while attending a national meeting. The other people detained were quickly released.

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