Behnam Akhlaghi

Released Jan 1, 2022

Held 893 days  Arrested July 2019 in Iran

Prisoner Details

Christian convert Behnam Akhlaghi was summoned to the offices of Iran's Revolutionary Guards on Feb. 23, 2019, as his colleagues Mehdi Khatibi and Babak Hosseinzadeh were being arrested at two different house churches. Colleagues Kamal Naamanian, Mohammed Vafadar, Khalil Dehkanpour, Hossein (Elisha) Kadivar, Abdolreza (Matthias) Haghnejad and Shahrooz Eslamdous had been arrested in the preceding four weeks. In March, seven of the nine men were released on bail to await sentencing, while Pastor Matthias and Shahrooz Eslamdous remained in custody.

At a preliminary hearing on July 24, the nine men were accused of "acting against national security" and "promoting Zionism." Judge Mohammed Moghiseh, who has earned the nickname the "judge of death," rejected the lawyer representing five of the defendants, and they, in turn, rejected an alternate appointed by the court. Angered, the judge transferred the pastor, Shahrooz Eslamdous, Babak Hosseinzadeh, Mehdi Khatibi and Behnam Akhlaghi straight to Evin Prison, where they remain in Ward 4.

The converts lost their appeal against the five-year prison sentences, though neither they nor their lawyers were allowed to attend the Feb. 25, 2020 hearing.

All nine men are from the northern city of Rasht and are members of the Church of Iran. The church's pastor, Yousef Nadarkhani, is currently serving a 10-year prison sentence, and the men were helping lead the church in his absence.

Petition Officials

  • Ebrahim Raisi


    Mailing Address

    President of the Islamic Republic of Iran

    Palestine Avenue, Pasteur St., Pasteur Sq.

    Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran

    Other Contact Information

    Telephone: +98(21)64451

    Fax: 98 21 649 5880


  • Saeed Iravani

    Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations

    Email Address

    Mailing Address

    622 Third Avenue

    34th Floor

    New York, NY


    Other Contact Information

    Telephone: 212-687-2020

    Fax: 212-867-7086

  • Ayatollah Sayed Ali Khamenei

    Leader of the Islamic Republic

    Email Address

    Mailing Address

    The Office of the Supreme Leader

    Soahada Street

    Qom, Iran

    Other Contact Information

    Fax: + 98 251 7 774 2228