World Watch List Challenge – #9 Iran

March 11, 2014 by Open Doors in Middle East

Iran According to reports obtained by Mohabat News, the Revolutionary Court of the Islamic Republic of Iran, in its ongoing oppressive and intimidating anti-Christian campaign targeting Christian leaders and pastors of Iranian churches, sentenced Rev. Vruir Avanessian, an ordained Iranian minister of Armenian heritage, to 3 ‘ years in prison. Based on official court documents obtained by Mohabat News on December 5, 2013, including a signed order by the court judge, the court imposed a 3 ‘ year sentence which was delivered to Rev. Avanessian. In these documents, Rev. Avanessian was charged and found guilty of anti-government activities and promotion of ideas contrary to the sanctity of the Islamic Republic of Iran. He was also given 20 days to file a complaint in the court against the verdict and the imposed sentence. The initial court hearing regarding the allegations against Rev. Vruir Avanessian was held on September 7, 2013 at the 26th judicial division of the Revolutionary Court of Tehran. This hearing was held behind closed doors, and was closed to the public. It was decided at this hearing that until the announcement of the verdict of the court, Rev. Avanessian was to remain at home and avoid all contacts with other Christians. Rev. Vruir Avanessian is currently suffering from serious heart disease and diabetes. He undergoes kidney dialysis three times week at a private clinic in Tehran, and has been retired from active ministry due his medical condition. The court was fully aware of Rev. Avanessian’s medical condition, and issued a harsh sentence despite prior knowledge of his health. *Names, photographs and other information have been changed for security purposes