Homayoun Zhaveh

Name: Homayoung Zhaveh

Age: 62

Country/Area of Origin: Tehran, Iran

Background: Homayoun and his wife were members of a house church.

Reason for Arrest:

In June 2019, Homayoun and his wife Sara Ahmadi, 42, were detained by authorities from Amol while they were vacationing with other Christian families near the Caspian Sea. Though the other detained individuals were released after brief interrogation, Homayoun and Sara were kept in custody and then transferred to Evin Prison in Tehran where Homayoun was held for one month and Sara for 67 days, 33 of which she spent in solitary confinement and was subjected to psychological torture.

In November 2020, Homayoun and Sara received their sentences from Judge Iman Afshari days after a hearing at the Revolutionary Court in Tehran, Branch 26. Homayoun received a 2-year prison sentence for membership in a house church, while Sara was sentenced to 11 years’ imprisonment for her leadership of the church. They were both additionally prohibited from domestic and international travel as well as membership in political groups.

On appeal in December 2020, Homayoun’s original verdict was upheld and Sara’s was reduced to 8 years’ imprisonment.

In March 2021, Homayoun and Sara were informed that their case had been passed to a government body that works to enforce sentences, meaning they may soon be summoned to begin serving their sentences. There is mounting concern that the couple may have to serve time in prison during the COVID-19 pandemic, neither of them having been administered the vaccine; moreover, Homayoun is suffering from advanced Parkinson’s disease.

The couple’s lawyer stated the following:

“My clients have always insisted that they haven’t engaged in any actions against national security, nor do they harbor any animosity or hostility towards the government.”

Advocacy director of Article 18 Mansour Borji made the following statement regarding Homayoun’s and Sara’s case:

“To hand down a prison sentence to a man of Homayoun’s age, suffering with advanced Parkinson’s – and only because of his membership of a house-church – would be shocking were it not for Iran’s proven track record of systematically persecuting Persian-speaking Christians, regardless of their age, health, or any other reasonable considerations. We call on Iran to immediately reverse its decision, and to stop persecuting Christian converts like Homayoun and Sara for the peaceful practice of their faith”.