#Human Rights
UN, Navi Pillay. OHCHR, Ahmed Shaheed, European Parliament, EU, State Department

December 15, 2013--Verveer Avanessian, arrested last year while serving as the priest of an Iranian house church, and who is severely ill and requires intensive medical care, has been sentenced to three and half years in prison.

According to Mohabat News quoted from Radio Zamaneh, Iranian judiciary announced the prison sentence of Verveer Avanessian on Thursday, December 5 2013.

The court announced the charges against him as propaganda and collusion against Islamic Republic of Iran, as well as action against national security.

He has been given a 20-day deadline to appeal the court's sentence.

Verveer Avanessian’s trial was held on September 7, behind closed doors.

The Court ordered him to avoid any contact with other Christians before pronouncement of the sentence.

Verveer Avanessian was arrested while attending a Christmas gathering, with a group of new-Christians on December 27, 2012.

Verveer Avanessian served as a priest for more than 17 years in Armenian and Iranian churches, and is currently retired from clerical duties due to serious health issues including kidney ailments and severe heart failure, diabetes and the aftermath of multiple surgeries.

WHEREAS: Verveer Avanessian is clealy a prisoner of conscience imprisoned solely for purusing his internationally recognized rights to freedom of worship;

AND WHEREAS: Verveer Avanessian is critically ill, and in need of intensive medical care which in recent years Iranian prisons have deliberately withheld from prisoners of conscience;

THEREFORE: We, the undersigned, demand that the international community bring all possible pressure upon the Islamic Republic of Iran to IMMEDIATELY and UNCONDTIONALLY rescind this prison sentence and drop ALL charges against Mr. Avanessian.

Given his poor state of health it is imperative that he not be subjected, even briefly, to the deprivations of the regime's prisons.

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The Rescind Prison Sentence Against Verveer Avanessian, Seriously Ill Iranian Priest petition to UN, Navi Pillay. OHCHR, Ahmed Shaheed, European Parliament, EU, State Department was written by John S. Burke and is in the category Human Rights at GoPetition.