Four Christians sentenced to 80 lashes for drinking communion wine

Discussion in 'West Asia & Africa' started by doremon, Nov 3, 2013.

  1. doremon

    doremon New Member

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    Four Christians in Iran will get 80 lashes each for drinking wine during a communion service and possessing a satellite antenna.

    The charges come as a United Nations report criticised the Islamic republic for persecuting
    non-Muslims

    Behzad Taalipasand, Mehdi Reza Omidi (Youhan), Mehdi Dadkhah (Danial) and Amir Hatemi (Youhanna) were arrested during in a house church in December. Taalipasand and Omidi were detained during the Iranian government’s crackdown on house churches according to the Christian Solidarity Worldwide.
    The men were sentenced on October 6 and given their verdict on October 20 with ten days to appeal the sentence after breaking the theocracy’s laws.

    Mervyn Thomas, Chief Executive of Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), said: ‘The sentences handed down to these members of the Church of Iran effectively criminalise the Christian sacrament of sharing in the Lord’s Supper and constitute an unacceptable infringement on the right to practice faith freely and peaceably


    ‘We urge the Iranian authorities to ensure that the nation’s legal practices and procedures do not contradict its international obligation under the International Convent on Civil and Political Rights to guarantee the full enjoyment of freedom of religion or belief by all of its religious communities.’

    The death penalty is among the punishments for those who convert from Islam to Christianity.

    Ahmed Shaheed, UN special rapporteur on human rights in Iran, said that it is common practice for Christians to be punished for violating theocratic laws, despite promises from president Hasan Rouhani’s to scale back the harsh treatment.




    In the UN report he wrote: ‘At least 20 Christians were in custody in July 2013. In addition, violations of the rights of Christians, particularly those belonging to evangelical Protestant groups, many of whom are converts, who proselytize to and serve Iranian Christians of Muslim background, continue to be reported.’

    In response to the report, the Iranian government criticised Dr Shaheed’s findings.

    According to the country’s state-controlled Press TV, an official from the UN mission said Dr Shaheed ‘has not paid sufficient notice to Iran's legal system and Islamic culture and considers whatever he sees in the West as an international standard for the entire world’.

    The Iranian government has cracked down on religious freedom in a bid to stop the increase of Christianity, seeing it as a threat to the country’s majority ultra-orthodox Shiite Islamic religion.

    An estimated 370,000 Christians live in Iran according to the latest report from the US State Department.

    The UN reported continued: ‘[Iran’s] authorities continue to compel licensed Protestant churches to restrict Persian-speaking and Muslim-born Iranians from participating in services, and raids and forced closures of house churches are ongoing.

    ‘More than 300 Christians have been arrested since 2010, and dozens of church leaders and active community members have reportedly been convicted of national security crimes in connection with church activities, such as organizing prayer groups, proselytizing and attending Christian seminars abroad.’
     
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