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Iran allows Azerbaijani Christians home on ‘conditional’ release

World Watch Monitor

Three Azerbaijani Christians, accused by Iran of “missionary activities”, were allowed to go home on Sunday, 6th November, after more than four months in prison, Middle East Concern (MEC) said. 

Eldar Gurbanov, 48, Yusif Farhadov, 51, Bahram Nasibov, 37, and an Iranian, Naser Navard Gol-Tapeh, have been released from prison, and the Azerbaijanis are able to travel back home, having been released on bail on 29th October.

Gurbanov, Farhadov and Nasibov were arrested on 24th June when security agents raided a wedding party they attended during a visit to Tehran. 

For two months, the four men were then kept incommunicado in solitary confinement and continually interrogated, apparently in Evin Prison in Tehran. During this time, they were denied consular assistance and legal counsel. 

They were finally transferred in September to shared cells in Ward 350 of the same prison. 

They faced charges of engaging in missionary activity and propaganda against the Iranian government.

Despite their conditional release, the men’s families and friends still call on Iranian authorities to acquit them of all charges. They hope “the Iranian regime will treat all prisoners with dignity and justice; that people will no longer be penalised on account of their faith or religious activities,” MEC reported.

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