A Christian couple in Iran look set to be imprisoned for their membership in a house church in the capital city, Tehran.
Homayoun Zhaveh, 62, and his wife, Sara Ahmadi, 42, were arrested in June 2019 while on vacation with other Christians in Amol, Mazandaran province.
In November 2020 Homayoun, who suffers from Parkinson’s disease, was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment and Sara to 11 years. An appeal the following month was dismissed, though Sara’s sentence was reduced to eight years.
They were also sentenced to six months’ community service, and barred from foreign travel or membership in any social or political group for two years after release from prison.
The couple were told on Sunday, March 14, that they should now expect a summons to begin their prison sentences.
A lawyer acting on behalf of Homayoun and Sara argued that the couple “haven’t engaged in any actions against national security, nor do they harbor any animosity or hostility toward the government,” and that it was unclear how membership in a house church constituted association with an “illegal organization.”
When they were first arrested, the couple were held at Evin Prison in Tehran, a prison notorious for prolonged interrogations and the abusive treatment of inmates. Homayoun was released after a month, but Sara was held for 67 days, including 33 days in solitary confinement.