Iranian Christian Mohammadreza Omidi (Yuhan) was finally released from prison on 18 August. He had finished serving his 24-month sentence for national security-related charges in July 2020.
Omidi was one of four Christians arrested in
Rasht on 13 May 2016 during a series of raids by security agents on Christian
homes, in which Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani, Deacon Saheb Fadaie and Yasser Mossayebzadeh were also arrested.
July 2017, they were found guilty of ‘acting against national security’ by
‘promoting Zionist Christianity’ and given ten-year sentences by Judge
Ahmadzadeh, the head judge of the 26th Branch of the Islamic Revolutionary
Court in Tehran. The judge stands accused of overseeing miscarriages of justice
and is subject to financial sanctions in the United Kingdom.
June 2020, an appeal verdict was issued and Pastor Nadarkhani and Deacon Fadaie
had their ten-year sentences reduced to six years. Mr Omidi’s sentence was
reduced to 24 months.
a press release on
17 August, CSW had expressed concern about the unchecked spread of COVID-19 in
Iranian prisons and the plight of prisoners of conscience who remain detained,
including Mr Omidi.
CSW’s Chief Executive Mervyn Thomas said: “While we welcome the release of Mr Omidi, CSW notes that neither he nor his fellow Christians should ever have been imprisoned in the first place. We call on the Iranian government to quash all charges against the three other Christians in this case and to release them immediately. The prevalence of the pandemic in Iran’s prison system, and the fact that Mr Mossayebzadeh has already contracted COVID-19 while Mr Fadaie is symptomatic, underline the need for Iran to expedite the release of every prisoners of conscience without precondition.”