Iranian Christians are pleased that a two-year term of internal exile, which was part of sentences issued in 2017, has been dropped for Christian convert Zaman (Saheb) Fadaei.
Saheb was arrested along with pastor Yousef Nadarkhani and three other Christian converts in May 2016. In June 2017, four of those arrested, including Saheb and Yousef, were each sentenced to ten years imprisonment for “acting against national security” including “propagating house churches” and “promoting Zionist Christianity”. Saheb and Yousef were also given a sentence of two years of internal exile in a remote location. They started serving their sentences in Evin Prison in July 2018.
In May 2020, the sentences were reduced to six years imprisonment, but the terms of exile were unchanged.
Saheb and Yousef were released in February 2023 as part of a general pardon approved by Supreme Leader Khamenei in commemoration of the anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
In June, Saheb travelled from his hometown of Rasht to Evin prison to request the return of property title deeds submitted as bail. He was informed he still had to serve the term of internal exile and was given an additional sentence of 50 lashes for previously not returning from a prison furlough on time. The lashes were administered on the spot on 25 June.
This was the second time Saheb had been given lashes – in November 2020 he was given 80 lashes for drinking communion wine.
On 8 August the prison contacted Saheb to inform him that he could collect the property deeds submitted as bail and on 10 August, it was confirmed that he will no longer serve the term of internal exile.