Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) has revealed this week that Mostafa Bordbar, a Christian convert in Iran, has been sentenced to 10 years in prison in Middle Eastern country for being part of an "anti-security organization" and "gathering with intent to commit crimes against Iranian national security."
The verdict was delivered on July 31 by the Revolutionary Court in Tehran, following his trial on June 9. Bordbar is currently being held in Evin prison, infamous for its human rights violations.
CSW noted Bordbar was arrested on Dec. 27, 2012, along with 50 other Christian converts who had gathered to celebrate Christmas in a house in northern Tehran.
"They were detained, interrogated for several hours and were forced to hand over personal details, including Facebook and e-mail addresses and passwords. Most of the group was released; however, Mr Bordbar and Vruir Avanessian, an Armenian-Christian Pastor, were arrested."
It added that Bordbar had previously been arrested several years earlier in the Iranian city of Rasht, his hometown, because of his conversion to Christianity. He was convicted on charges of "apostasy" against Islam, but was released after paying bail of 200 million Iranian Rials. But the charge remained on his criminal record, which prevented him from obtaining a permit to establish a private company.
"CSW is deeply concerned at reports of Mostafa Bordbar's harsh sentence. Although he was convicted of crimes of a seemingly political nature, it is clear that as with other Christians who have been recently imprisoned in Iran, this is nothing more than a means of justifying manifestly excessive or unjust sentences," CSW's Chief Executive Mervyn Thomas said in a statement.
"CSW urges the Iranian authorities to release Mostafa Bordbar and all those who have been imprisoned on account of their faith. We also urge the Iranian authorities to ensure that religious minorities are free to exercise their right to adopt any faith of their own choice, a right that is enshrined in the International Convent on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Iran is party," he added.