Amin Khaki

Name: Amin Khaki

Country/Area of Origin: Iran

Background: Amin Khaki is an Iranian Christian convert

Reason for Arrest:

On 11 November 2020, Iranian intelligence authorities raided the homes of Amin Khaki, Milad Gourdazi, and Alireza Nourmohammadi and confiscated Bibles as well as other personal property such as cellphones and computers; the three men were not arrested and brought into custody. However, authorities did warn them against continuing with their Christian activities, as evangelism is criminalized in Iran’s Penal Code.

On 26 June 2021, Khaki, Gourdazi, and Nourmohammadi were sentenced to the maximum five year prison term for holding or disseminating “propaganda that educates in a deviant way contrary to the holy religion of Islam”; the three men were also fined 40 million tomans (≈ USD $1,600). The Penal Code, which has been recently amended, includes Article 500 which states that “any deviant education or propaganda that contradicts or interferes with the sacred Sharia will be severely punished” with up to ten years’ imprisonment. Moreover, the amendment permits authorities to rescind convicted individuals’ basic political rights, such as voting, for up to fifteen years. Religious freedom and human rights experts alike raised concerns when the amendment passed parliament in January 2021 that the new law could be used to target religious minority communities; their fears were correct, and Khaki, Gourdazi, and Nourmohamadi are the first to be persecuted under the new legislation:

“We were still waiting to see how the amendments are going to be applied, and now we have the first indication with Amin, Milad and Alireza’s sentences. Of course, it is up to the prosecutor, who is influenced by Iranian intelligence, to decide whether the charges are propaganda (Article 500) or action against the Islamic State (Articles 498, 499). What we can say is that someone convicted under Article 500 now faces a maximum jail term of five years rather than a typical term of six months that many Christians received previously.” – Anonymous Analyst

In August, during the men’s appeal hearing, their original conviction was upheld but their sentences were commuted to three years in prison; they were released on bail for 250 million tomans (≈ USD $8,800) but were obligated to visit authorities on a weekly basis for six months.

Latest Updates:

  • September 2021: Khaki, Gourdazi, and Nourmohammadi were originally to be summoned to start their prison sentences in September, with an additional court hearing in mid-December; however, the three men received notice that they must turn themselves in on 10 November 2021 to start serving their terms of imprisonment.