Firouzi refused to attend his appeals court hearing because authorities did not give him access to his defence documents. The hearing was postponed for another four months, but only because the appointed judge was not present.
Firouzi’s mother asked officials to handle her son’s case fairly and to release him; due to a vision impairment, she has been unable to even visit her son.
Mohabat News reported: “Mr. Firouzi’s elderly mother said that she is visually impaired and there is nothing she can do and has no one to help her. She said she doesn’t have the ability to go from court to court and follow up on her son’s case.”
According to The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), Firouzi was arrested in 2013. Then in 2015, he was sentenced to five years in prison for “acting against national security”, the charge often levied against prisoners of faith in Iran.
Christians face persecution and discrimination in Iran; from jail sentences to assault to the destruction of their places of worship.
In May, Christian Solidarity Worldwide reported the arrest of Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani; a house church leader in Iran who had previously been sentenced to death for the crime of apostasy before being acquitted in 2012
CSW’s Chief Executive Mervyn Thomas said: “Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for Christians who have been arrested on account of their religious beliefs to be released and re-arrested time and again, in a tactic designed to foster a sense of insecurity within the community.”
According to the Iran Human Rights Documentation Centre database of prisoners, at least 821 people were imprisoned for exercising fundamental rights including Sunni Muslims, Christians, and other religious minorities.