Iran: Judge calls Christian defendants ‘apostates’

By Christian Solidarity Worldwide

CSW has learned that four members of the Church of Iran denomination who are charged with endangering state security and promoting Zionism were tried on Sunday 28 July after their court hearing on 24 July was postponed by the presiding judge, who is notorious for miscarriages of justice. The trial took place in the 28th Chamber of the Revolutionary Court.

Mohammad Vafadar, Kamal Naamanian, Hossein Kadivar (Elisha) and Khalil Dehghanpour, who were representing themselves, initially appeared before Judge Mohammed Moghisheh on 24 July alongside Pastor Matthias Haghnejad, Shahrouz Eslamdoust, Babak Hosseinzadeh, Behnam Akhlaghi and Mehdi Khatibi, who were represented by their lawyer, Mr Moshgani Farahani.

However the hearing was postponed when Pastor Haghnejad, Mr Eslamdoust, Mr Hosseinzadeh, Mr Akhlaghi, and Mr Khatibi resisted the judge’s demand that they replace their chosen lawyer with a court-appointed one, and were remanded in custody on significantly increased bail. The four Christians that chose to represent themselves were tried separately on 28 July.