Iranian Christian convert pardoned after six years in prison
Zaman Fadaei, who was detained along with Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani and three other Christian converts in 2016, received a 10-year prison sentence and was also ordered into exile for two years at the end of his prison term.
According to advocacy groups, Fadaei “was acting against national security by propagating house churches and promoting Zionist Christianity”.
In 2020, authorities reduced the imprisonment to six years, but kept the exile order. Fadaei also received an 80-lash sentence for drinking wine during a Communion service, and was severely injured during the whipping.
Fadaei and Pastor Nadarkhani got released on the 8th of February 2023 in commemoration of the 1979 Islamic Revolution’s anniversary. Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei approved the pardon as part of the amnesty freeing. However, when they returned to prison to collect indemnity used for their bail, they were shocked to learn that officials had reinstated their exile sentence.
Fadaei and Pastor Nadarkhani also received 50 lashes as further punishment for promoting Christianity.
Fadaei was advised to collect the property deeds submitted as bail on the 8th of August. Authorities confirmed that his internal exile term had come to an end on the 10th of August. He should be able to collect the bail next week.
Pastor Nadarkhani’s two-year term of internal exile still stands.
On the 28th of January 2023, authorities released Anahita Khademi, a Christian convert, on a bail of 180 million toman (approximately $4,000), who had been charged with various accusations, including distributing “propaganda against the system” and “disturbing public opinion.”
Iran ranked eighth on Christian support organization Open Doors’ 2023 World Watch List (WWL) of the 50 countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian. During the past few years, the government of Iran has severely cracked down on house churches, but according to the WWL report: “despite great oppression, the Islamic Republic of Iran has seen phenomenal growth in its underground church movement”.