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Christian arrests in Iran/ United Nations report on human rights abuses in Iran

Christian arrests in Iran/ United Nations report on human rights abuses in Iran

Ahmed Shaheed, UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran, has just issued a report on human rights abuses in Iran.

You can download the report at: http://shaheedoniran.org/english/dr-shaheeds-work/latest-reports/march-2014-report-of-the-special-rapporteur/

The report says there are at least 49 Christian prisoners in Iran currently, and lists their names.

"In recent years, Christians, many of whom are converts from Muslim backgrounds, have faced a similar pattern of persecution. At least 49 Christians were reportedly being detained in the Islamic Republic of Iran as at January 2014. In 2013 alone, the authorities reportedly arrested at least 42 Christians, of whom 35 were convicted for participation in informal "house churches", association with churches outside the Islamic Republic of Iran, perceived or real evangelical activity, and other standard Christian activities. Sentences range from one to 10 years of imprisonment.

The Christians most commonly prosecuted appear to be converts from Muslim backgrounds or those that proselytize or minister to Iranian Muslims. Iranian authorities at the highest levels have designated house churches and evangelical Christians as threats to national security. While most cases involving Christians are tried in revolutionary courts for national security crimes, some Christians face charges in public criminal courts for manifestation of religious beliefs; for example, a court sentenced four Christians to 80 lashes each for drinking wine during communion in October 2013 ("Iran: Four Christians sentenced to 80 lashes each for drinking communion wine", Christian Solidarity Worldwide, 23 October 2013, available from http://dynamic.csw.org.uk/article.asp?t=press&id=1595).

Sources also reported that, although prosecutions for the capital offence of apostasy are very rare, officials routinely threaten to prosecute Christian converts for apostasy, which, while not found in any Iranian criminal law, has been prosecuted based on an Islamic law interpretation commonly used by Iranian courts (See "The Cost of Faith: Persecution of Christian Protestants and Converts in Iran", International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, New York, 2013.)"

Source: Christian Solidarity Worldwide.


IRAN: Eight Christians arrested and interrogated

March 7, 2014

Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) has been informed that eight Iranian Christians were arrested and interrogated by security forces on 5 March 2014.

Amin Khaki, Hossein Barunzadeh, Hossein Etemadifar, Rahman Bahman, Mohammad Bahrami, Saiede Rahimi, Fatemeh Bagheri and Amineh Moalla were arrested on Wednesday afternoon during a group picnic near the city of Shush-e-Daniel.

The group was subsequently taken by minibus to a location where they were blindfolded and interrogated by armed agents from the Ministry of Intelligence and National Security (VEVAK) until 9pm. During the interrogation, members of the group had personal items confiscated, including their mobile phones.

Although details are still unclear, CSW understands that most of the group was released after being told not to contact their relatives. However, arrest warrants were issued by a cleric for three of them, namely, Amin Khaki, Hossein Barunzadeh (Daniel) and Rahman Bahman (Zia).

CSW's Chief Executive Mervyn Thomas said, "This harassment and interrogation of innocent people who were merely socialising is both highly irregular and wholly unacceptable. We urge the Iranian government to ensure that the rule of law is upheld and religious minorities are not subject to arbitrary interference by officials and subsequent trumped-up charges."

Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) is a Christian organization working for religious freedom through advocacy and human rights, in the pursuit of justice.


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