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Families ask for help as Azerbaijan Christians detained in Iran

Aug 02, 2016

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The families of three Azerbaijani Christians detained for more than a month in Iran have appealed for help.

Eldar Gurbanov, 48, Yusif Farhadov, 51, and Bahram Nasibov, 37 were arrested on 24 June at an engagement party in Tehran. No charges have been filed against them, nor have they been allowed access to a lawyer.

Middle East Concern reported that initially about 10 people were arrested, but most were soon released.

Mohabat News reported that Naser Navard Gol-Tapeh, 45, a Christian convert from a Muslim background, was “held separate from everyone else during the raid … and there has been no word on his whereabouts since his arrest”.

The Azerbaijanis had been invited to Tehran by friends. Their families have reported that they have not been told why they were arrested, have been kept in separate cells and do not know where they are being held, although after a week’s detention they were allowed to call home and said they are in a prison somewhere in Tehran.

After petitions from their families, the Azerbaijani Embassy in Tehran requested permission to meet them, but this has not yet been granted.

On 1 August, their families released the following statement:

“On 22nd June 2016 our husbands and fathers – Eldar Gurbanov, Yusif Farhadov and Bahram Nasibov – travelled to Tehran in the Islamic Republic of Iran.

They were invited as guests in Iran to participate in an engagement ceremony and meet with their Iranian friends.

As we discovered later, they were arrested on 24th June by security agents during an engagement ceremony and they have not been charged with any crime.

Eldar (48), Yusif (51) and Bahram (37) are all married and have children.

Yusif has a young son with Down's Syndrome under his care.

They have not been charged with any crime and their future is unknown to all of us. We ask all who are concerned to help our husbands and fathers to return safely to their homes!”

Source: World Watch Monitor