Christian Convert Imprisoned for Holding Baptism in Turkey
In an interview with the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, Mohammad Ali Dadkhah, Seyyedian’s lawyer, said that his client’s charges are “propaganda against the regime” and “acting against national security.”
“The judge said that by having his baptism performed in Turkey, he propagated against the regime. According to the judge, we have enough priests in Iran to baptize him,” said Dadkhah. “The judge’s interpretation was that by having his baptism in Turkey, my client’s intent was to express the lack of freedom in Iran.”
Dadkhah told the Campaign that Seyyedian’s court sentence explicitly noted that he propagated against the regime by holding his baptism in Turkey.
Seyyedian, who runs a house church, was first arrested in 2010 and released on $50,000 bail. His first court session was held at Branch 28 of the Revolutionary Court on 19 November 2011.
“The other allegations against my client were distributing videos of his baptism on the Internet and holding various interviews about [the baptism]. He is also charged with running a home church. He was holding regular meetings with other converts but they were not put on trial, only Alireza was. In any case, the judge noted all these items as propaganda against the regime and acting against national security,” said Dadkhah, adding that, “I tried defending my client by adding that these charges can all be considered propaganda against the regime, the sentence for which is only one year in prison.”
Dadkhah told the Campaign that since the contentious trial of Youcef Nadarkhani, he believes that courts, even if they are aware of certain facts of the case, don’t pursue them.
“The judge asked many questions specifically about why he held his baptism in Turkey but my client did not reply to this question. He also didn’t deny the accusation of uploading his baptism’s video on various Internet sites. My client did not deny any of the accusations.”
*An earlier version of this article mistakenly printed Seyyedian’s name as Seyedin, among some other errors, that have been corrected.