In September 2021, Morteza Mashoodkari was one of three Church of Iran members arrested during raids on a house-church and another private home in Rasht. He was detained and kept in solitary confinement for two weeks at an unknown location before being transferred to Lakan Prison.
In September 2021 Morteza and one of the others, Ahmad Sarparast were released on bail.
On 25 January, 2022 Morteza was charged under Article 500 of the penal code. At a hearing on 17 February, 2022 he denied the charges saying he was “just a Christian worshipping according to the Bible”, and that he “did not engage in any propaganda against the regime or any action against national security”. On 9 April, 2022, Branch 2 of the Rasht Revolutionary Court sentenced Morteza to five years in prison for “engaging in propaganda against the state” (Article 500 IPC), as well as a fine of 18 million tomans (around $750).
Morteza appealed his sentence but his appeal was rejected. Other charges were also brought against him, but these were dropped and he is now serving out his 5-year sentence.
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