Ayoub Pourrezade, a leader from the Church of Iran denomination in the city of Rasht, was released on bail from Lakan Prison on Oct. 3, 12 days after two other leaders who were arrested with him were also released on bail.
Pourrezade was arrested alongside Morteza Mashhoudkari and Ahmad Sarparast on the evening of Sept. 5 when secret police (MOIS) agents raided the house where they were meeting.
Middle East Concern reports that Pourrezade spent 10 days in custody of the Revolutionary Guard before being transferred to solitary confinement in Lakan Prison. He was separated from his friends to be interrogated about church finances.
Christians, and particularly those who convert to Christianity from Islam, have faced intense harassment at the hands of the Iranian authorities for several years in Rasht. Several leaders are currently serving lengthy prison sentences on spurious charges often related to "national security," including pastors Yousef Nadarkhani and Matthias Haghnejad.
CSW’s Founder President Mervyn Thomas said, “CSW welcomes news of the release of Ayoub Pourrezade from prison on bail; however, we note that he, Morteza Mashhoudkari and Ahmad Sarparast are still facing these unfounded charges. We renew our call for the charges against them to be dropped, and for the immediate and unconditional release of all those detained in Iran on similar charges that essentially amount to the criminalization of Christianity.”