Iranian-Amenian pastor Joseph Shahbazian was arrested on 30 June, 2020, along with five other Christian converts after a raid on a house church in Yaftabad, Western Tehran, one of a series of raids on homes and house churches across three cities.
After three weeks detention Joseph’s bail was set at 3 billion tomans, the highest bail ever demanded for a Christian prisoner of conscience. Then on August 20,2022, he was released on a reduced bail of 2 billion tomans (approx $100,000).
On 7 June, 2022, Joseph was sentenced to 10 years in prison on charges of ‘Acting against national security by promoting Zionist Christianity’. He was also sentenced to two-years exile following his release, as well as a two-year travel ban and a two-year ban on membership of any church or group.
He appealed his sentence, but it was rejected. On 29 August, 2022 he was summoned to begin his sentence within 24 hours, and on 30 August, 2022, he turned himself in to begin his prison sentence.