Iranian Pastor Matthias (Abdulreza Ali) Haghnejad was re-arrested on 15 January, just over two weeks after being released from prison pending a review of his five-year sentence.
Pastor Haghnejad had been released on 30 December 2021 after serving nearly three years in prison following his conviction on charges of “endangering state security” and “promoting Zionist Christianity”. According to Middle East Concern he was summoned to court again on 15 January, where he was given a six year sentence for “acting against the security of the country by forming a group and propagating Christianity outside the church and in the house church, and giving information to the enemies of Islam.”
These charges were originally levelled against Pastor Haghnejad in 2014. However, the judicial head of a court in Karaj overturned the December 2014 appeal in which they had been dismissed.
CSW’s sources suggest that the re-arresting of Pastor Haghnejad may indicate competition and lack of coordination between the various centres of power and secret police agencies in the country.
CSW’s Founder President Mervyn Thomas said: “CSW is deeply disappointed to learn of Pastor Haghnejad’s re-arrest on charges which he was acquitted of over seven years ago. We call once more for his immediate and unconditional release and exoneration, and urge the Iranian authorities to end the continual harassment of Christians and other religious and belief communities in the country. We particularly urge an end to the use of national security-related charges against members of minority religious communities who are peaceably practising their faith.”