An Iranian court has sentenced some 18 people to nearly 24 years in jail for converting to Christianity.
The FoxNews reported that the Christan converts were charged with "evangelism", "creating house churches" and "spreading propaganda against the regime" and the Iranian Sharia court handed them out a prison term of about 24 years.
It is reported that the trial of the Christian converts was carried out in a tightly censored manner by a "controlled" judiciary.
The Iranian court claimed that the 'guilty' Christians were sentenced in accordance to the provisions in Article 500 of Islamic Penal Code. However, Iranian activists claim that Article 500 is a "catch-all criminal statute" to penalise anyone opposing the Iranian regime.
"Anyone who engages in any type of propaganda against the Islamic Republic of Iran or in support of opposition groups and associations, shall be sentenced to three months to one year of imprisonment," the Penal code says.
According to a 2015 report published by the United State Commission on International Religious Freedom since 2010, Iran has arbitrarily arrested and detained more than 500 Christians throughout the country.
As of February 2015, approximately 90 Christians were either in prison, detained, or awaiting
trial because of their religious beliefs and activities. The report also claimed that the most persecuted of those were the evangelical Christian converts.
Even as Iran is slowly inching towards reaching an agreement on the final nuclear deal, the country has repeatedly made news over the censorship in reporting of the Iranian judiciary.
Earlier last month, an Iranian monitoring group alleged that the 'Mullah' regime in country, in a matter of mere six days, secretly executed 59 "activists" in the largely Shia-Muslim populated country.