Persecution of Ex-Muslims (Iran)

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Name, age and method of execution records for 465 individuals charged with apostasy related offences between 1979 - 1990[edit]

» Fereidun A'zami
Age: 36
Occupation: unspecified occupation
Execution: shooting, October 30, 1982, Evin Prison, Tehran, Iran

» Hamid Ab

Occupation: university student
Execution: shooting, August 1990, Tabriz, Iran

» Khalil Abarqu'i

Age: 30
Occupation: health related professional
Execution: shooting, September 1988, Tehran, Iran

» Nabiollah Abbasi

Execution: September 1988, Tehran, Iran

» Abdolhossein

Execution: 1988, Iran
First 5 search results for apostasy
Omid, the Iran Human Rights Memorial

Church leader and convert from Islam (known by his congregation as the “Soul Giver”), found by authorities, hanging from a tree[edit]

Mohammed Bagher Yusefi, 34, was the seventh Iranian Christian leader martyred since the 1979 Revolution. Also a convert from Islam, Yusefi was pastor of all of the Assemblies of God churches in the northwestern province of Manzandaran. He and his wife had taken care of two of Pastor Mehdi Dibaj’s sons during the nine years while Dibaj was imprisoned for his faith. Yusefi, whose church members called him Ravanbakhsh, “Soul Giver,” had left his home in Sari, the capital of Manzandaran province, at 6:00 a.m. on September 28, 1996 to study and pray. He was found by authorities, hanging from a tree in a forest outside Sari that evening.

Many other Christian leaders and church members have been killed in Iran over the past three decades, but to list them all would take an Iranian version of Foxe’s Book of Martyrs.
Iran’s Decades of Christian Persecution
Faith J. H. McDonnell, FrontPageMag, February 4, 2011

Arrested convert to Christianity faces possible execution on charges of apostasy from Islam and of proselytizing Muslims[edit]

Arrested last September when security police raided a church conference he was attending, the Assemblies of God lay pastor faces charges of apostasy from Islam and of proselytizing Muslims. Both "crimes" are punishable by death.

Pourmand, 47, converted from Islam to Christianity nearly 25 years ago. He spent several months in solitary confinement after his arrest last September 9, the only one of 86 church leaders arrested at the conference who was not released.

The former army colonel was found guilty of deceiving the Iranian armed forces by not declaring when he became an officer that he was a convert to Christianity. Under the laws of the Islamic Republic of Iran, it is illegal for a non-Muslim to serve in a position of authority over Muslim soldiers. Pourmand received a three-year sentence, now under appeal.
Lay Pastor May Face Martyrdom
Compass Direct, May 5, 2005

53-year-old convert to Christianity who was attacked by a Muslim relative and had recieved several death threats, is kidnapped and stabbed to death. His beaten, bleeding body is thrown in front of his home[edit]

An Iranian convert to Christianity was kidnapped last week from his home in northeastern Iran and stabbed to death, his bleeding body thrown in front of his home a few hours later.

Ghorban Tori, 50, was pastoring an independent house church of convert Christians in Gonbad-e-Kavus, a town just east of the Caspian Sea along the Turkmenistan border.
. . .
A former Muslim of Turkmen descent, Tori had converted to Christianity more than 10 years ago, while in Turkmenistan
. . .
But not all welcomed his message; at least one relative attacked Tori, scarring his face. In the past year he received several threats from Islamic extremists vowing to kill him if he did not stop sharing his Christian faith.

He is the fifth Protestant pastor assassinated in Iran by unidentified killers in the past 11 years. Three of the five were former Muslims, under Iranian law subject to the death penalty for having committed apostasy.
Iran: Convert stabbed to death
Barbara G. Baker, Compass Direct, November 28, 2005

Long-time convert to Christianity who was previously threatened with death for apostasy, under arrest and held by secret police for the past three weeks. May face official charge[edit]

An Iranian Christian who converted from Islam 33 years ago is under arrest and interrogation in northern Iran, where secret police have held him incommunicado for the past three weeks.

Ali Kaboli, 51, was taken into custody on May 2 from his workshop in Gorgan, capital of Iran’s northern province of Golestan. With the exception of one brief telephone call, he has been refused contact with any visitors.

To date no charges have been filed against Kaboli, who has been threatened in the past with legal prosecution for holding “illegal” religious meetings in his home. He could also be charged for converting to Christianity, which under Iran’s apostasy laws calls for the death penalty.

Since Kaboli’s arrest three weeks ago, a number of the Christians attending Kaboli’s house-church have been called in by the police and questioned, one by one.

Kaboli is married with five grown children; his family has declined to comment on the situation.
. . .
He has been threatened, arrested and interrogated numerous times for his Christian activities. Twelve years ago, he received verbal threats that he was an apostate who should be killed.

More than once local police have ordered him for months to stay within the city limits of Gorgan and sign in daily at police headquarters.

According to outside observers close to the mushrooming Protestant house church movement inside Iran, local authorities and police interrogators in the Golestan and Mazandaran provinces of northern Iran have been “notoriously difficult” for their tough stance against converts to Christianity.

Christian couple punished by whipping for "apostasy" by six officials who visit their home[edit]

An Iranian Christian couple have been punished by whipping for "apostasy" from Islam in a case that has underscored concerns about widespread persecution of Christians in Iran, a well-informed advocacy group said Tuesday, November 6.

Barnabas Fund, which has close ties with reportedly persecuted Christians in predominantly Muslim nations, told BosNewsLife that "six officials", most likely of the feared religious police, visited the couple's home in September to carry out the punishment. Their names were not released, apparently because of security concerns.

"The husband is indeed a former Muslim, who became a Christian many years ago, but the wife was born into an Assyrian Christian family and has never been a Muslim," Barnabas Fund explained.

Police in Tehran detain and torture a married couple who recently converted from Islam to Christianity and threatened to put their 4-year-old daughter in an institution[edit]

Security police officials in Tehran this month tortured a newly converted couple and threatened to put their 4-year-old daughter in an institution after arresting them for holding Bible studies and attending a house church.

A Christian source in Iran said that 28-year-old Tina Rad was charged with “activities against the holy religion of Islam” for reading the Bible with Muslims in her home in east Tehran and trying to convert them. Officials charged her husband, 31-year-old Makan Arya, with “activities against national security” after seizing the couple from their home on June 3, forcing them to leave their 4-year-old daughter ill and unattended.

Authorities kept them in an unknown jail for four days, which left them badly bruised from beatings, with Rad “very ill” and unable to walk, said the source. Rad was released on bail of US$30,000 bail, and her husband was freed on payment of US$20,000.

“The next time there may also be an apostasy charge, if you don’t stop with your Jesus,” a female security police officer told Rad during interrogation, according to the source. Under Iran’s strict Islamic laws, Muslims who convert from Islam to another religion can be executed.

Sixteen converts from Islam to Christianity arrested; including six women, eight men and two adolescents[edit]

Sixteen Iranians who converted from Islam to Christianity were arrested on Tuesday in Malakshahr, on the outskirts of the central Iranian city of Isfahan.

The six women, eight men and two adolescents who were arrested were assisting in a conversion ceremony and baptism of three new members of the church at a private house that had been transformed into an evangelical church.

The owners of the home, an elderly couple, were allegedly beaten up before they were locked up in an unmarked lorry.

In April, 10 Christian converts were arrested in Shiraz.

The official evangelical churches in Isfahan received orders not to allow any Muslims to attend their ceremonies and not to facilitate in any way the conversions.

Two Christian women held for over four months in Tehran's notorious Evin prison for leaving Islam. There are growing concerns that they may face execution for apostasy[edit]

Marzieh Amirizadeh, 30, and Maryam Rustampoor, 27, have been held for over four months in Tehran's notorious Evin prison apparently for converting to Christianity from Islam.

Iranian Christians and rights investigators said the two young women, who were arrested March 5, suffered sleep deprivation as part of police interrogations and were held in solitary confinement for three weeks in May and early June.

Later, they were put together in one small cell for about two weeks before being moved to a larger area to make place for other inmates, including many protesters who were detained following last month's disputed presidential elections, said Christians with close knowledge about the situation.
. . .
There was still no clarity regarding the case of the two Christian women, Tuesday, July 7, with one judge reportedly telling them they were both to be executed as ‘apostates’. "Maryam and Marzieh have responded with courage, however, telling the judge to 'expedite his sentence'," said Pray for Iran, an Internet initiative of Iranian churches.
. . .
Besides Amirizadeh and Rustampoor, over 50 Christians were arrested, some being held for weeks in solitary confinement, several Christian sources said.
. . .
Elam Ministries linked the attacks to concern among Iran's leaders about the spread of Christianity in the Islamic nation. "Because Iran is a strategic gateway nation, the growing church in Iran will impact Muslim nations across the Islamic world."

The group said in 1979, there were less than 500 known Christians from a Muslim background in Iran. "Today the most conservative estimate is that there are at least 100,000 believers in the nation."

Authorities arrest 27 converts from Islam to Christianity at a home church, seven still remain detained[edit]

Iranian Christians have seen a wave of trouble coming from the government over recent weeks, reports MNN.

Last month, authorities arrested 27 believers of a Muslim background (BMBs) at a home church, seven of whom are still being detained.

Glenn Penner of Voice of the Martyrs Canada says, "There does seem to be a certain pattern of deliberateness to this. Why again? We can only speculate. But we simply observe that this is taking place."
. . .

Apparently, hope has drawn eyes to believers. Penner explains, "Young people, in particular, are desperate to know more about Jesus Christ. The churches are growing. Iranian religious leaders we know are very concerned about this and it's sending a message of that concern. At the same time, we're not really receiving any reports that this is having any sort of detrimental effect on the spread of the Gospel."

Imprisoned Christan pastor sentenced to death by hanging, for renouncing his Muslim religion[edit]

A detained pastor of a major network of Christian house churches in Iran will be executed by hanging for "apostasy", or abandoning Islam, according to translated court documents seen by Worthy News Wednesday, November 24.

The 11th Chamber of The Assize Court of the province of Gilan said Iranian pastor Yousef Nadarkhani had proved his "apostasy" by "organizing evangelistic meetings and inviting others to Christianity, establishing a house church, baptizing people, expressing his faith to others and, denying Islamic values."

Nadarkhani is "an apostate [and] will be executed by being hung...Somehow his soul is taken from him," the court wrote.

The written verdict was "officially handed out" Tuesday, November 23, said a source of Nadarkhani's evangelical Church of Iran network speaking on condition of anonymity.
Iran Court: ‘Pastor To Be Executed By Hanging’
Stefan J. Bos, Worthy News, November 26, 2010
An Iranian pastor, convicted of apostasy and sentenced to death, may have only hours or days to live, according to a US-based Christian ministry acquainted with the facts of his case.

Jason DeMars, of Present Truth Ministries, told ANS: “We have been notified that the conviction of brother Youcef Nadarkhani for apostasy, as well as the sentence of death, has been upheld and confirmed by the Iranian Supreme Court.

“The way that this situation is typically handled is that at any time, and without advance notice, they will carry out the death sentence. First, they will ask him to recant, and if he does not, then he will be executed.”

DeMars says: “There is nothing more to be done to help his case from within Iran. The only thing that can affect his case now is international pressure.

Christian convert beaten to death by a Muslim relative[edit]

A believer with a Muslim Background (BMB) died in Iran after being severely beaten by a relative, according to Christian Human rights group.

According to Middle East Concern, he left behind a wife and two young children. Due to security concerns to the surviving family, the man's name was not able to be released.

A number of Christians continue to be held in jail in Iran for their faith in Jesus Christ. According to Farsi Christian News Network, three of 15 believers arrested near Mashhad on July 8th of this year are still in detention. They are under pressure to renounce their faith in Jesus Christ, but have refused to do so.

In the city of Ahvaz, another believer, the assistant pastor of a fellowship, remains detained after having been arrested during a raid on his home July 24th. His wife and daughter were also arrested and detained, but were released shortly after.

According to a report on Iranian State television in early September, nine Christians were arrested in the town of Hamedan on charges of evangelism. Any religion other than Islam is forbidden in Iran.
Iranian Christian Dies After Being Beaten by Relative
Marshall Ramsey II, Worthy News, October 24, 2010

Christian pastor, Behrouz Sadegh-Khanjani, 35, facing a possible indictment for apostasy[edit]

A Christan pastor in Iran has been sentenced to death for allegedly renouncing his Muslim religion and another faces a possible indictment on the same charge of apostasy, according to a prominent activist group working for human rights in Iran.
. . .

In the southern city of Shiraz, another Christian pastor, Behrouz Sadegh-Khanjani, 35, is facing a possible indictment for apostasy.

"This is part of a greater trend of persecution against Christians," said Firouz Sadegh-Khanjani, brother of Behrouz and member of the Church of Iran's Executive Council.

Christians are feeling the heat in other parts of the Muslim world as well. In Iraq, Christians have been attacked and many have fled their homes for other lands. In Pakistan, a Christian woman faces a death sentence for blasphemy for allegedly defiling the name of the Prophet Mohammed.
In Iran, a Christian pastor faces death sentence
Joe Sterling, CNN, December 7, 2010

25 converts from Islam to Christianity (including church leaders and five married couples) arrested by authorities. Two couples separated from very young children[edit]

In a new wave of victimization of Christians in Iran, about 25 Christians with a Muslim background – including church leaders and five married couples are confirmed to have been arrested at their homes in several cities.

In a statement by the Release International, (www.releaseinternational.org) a United Kingdom (UK) registered charity, it said that two couples were separated from very young children.

It noted that Christians in Iran are concerned by a recent wave of arrests targeting their community – and by officials' threats of more to follow and that Religious rights group Middle East Concern (MEC) reports that arrests have been made in Tehran and various other cities in a crackdown which began over Christmas.

“MEC reports that 14 of the 25 are still in detention. The 11 others were reportedly interrogated and forced to sign statements declaring they would no longer participate in Christian activities before being released,” it stated.

It said that there are reports of other arrests, though the precise numbers involved are not yet clear adding that Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) reports that 50 others have been detained.
25 Iranian Christians with Muslim Backgrounds Arrested
Success Kanayo Uchime, All Voices, January 6, 2011

11 converts to Christianity who have fled Iran receive death threats warning them that they are being watched by “acute eyes of the unknown soldiers,” and if the do not repent, "they must be killed"[edit]

Eleven Iranian Christians who fled Iran in the wake of a government campaign against evangelical Christianity have received threats via email from ‘the unknown soldiers of the Hidden Imam’ calling on them to either repent or face extra-judicial execution. The ‘unknown soldiers’ are alleged to have links with Iranian security services.

The email, which was sent to each individual on 14 September, warned the recipients that although they may have managed to flee Iran, they are not hidden from the ‘acute eyes of the unknown soldiers’, who claim they have been advancing to the heart of the ‘Zionist regime’ over a number of years. The email concludes by offering the eleven Christians ‘the opportunity to repent and ask forgiveness from the presence of the Hidden Imam [the 12th Imam, the Messiah-figure in Shia Twelver theology] and the Great Allah. Otherwise, according to the Fatwa given by Mehdi the Hidden Imam, they must be killed.’

Reverend Samuel Yeghnazar of Elam Ministries, who has been closely involved in the house church movement in Iran, has indicated that he and his network of churches are taking the threat very seriously.
. . .

The threat to the lives of the eleven Christians, together with the continuing threat of execution of Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani, are indicative of what Pastor Yeghnazar terms the “utter hypocrisy of a government that claims Christians live in freedom.” Protestant Christians, along with many other religious minorities, do not enjoy religious freedom in Iran and in the past eleven months at least 137 Christians have suffered arbitrary arrests and interrogations and nearly forty have been kept in prison for several weeks. One Christian from Tehran, Fashid Fathi-Malayeri, has been imprisoned for nine months, several weeks of which were spent in solitary confinement. He has had no access to a lawyer and still has not been informed of the exact charges against him. His wife and two small children have fled Iran for their own safety.

"His crime is not converting others to Christianity," 2 years after his arrest and conviction for apostasy, Iran now tries to justify pastor's imminent death sentence with rape claim. 2010 court ruling show this claim to be false[edit]

Note that later in 2012 they would eventually admit he was convicted only of religious 'crimes'.

Iran said on Saturday that Christian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani was sentenced to death for rape, not for the crime of abandoning Islam.

Previous reports indicated that Nadarkhani was found guilty of apostasy because he converted to Christianity as a teenager. Nadarkhani has been sentenced to death by hanging for the crime, which is technically not in Iran's penal code but is a religious doctrine enforced by an official fatwa.

"His crime is not, as some claim, converting others to Christianity," Gholomali Rezvani, the Gilan province deputy governor, told Fars news agency. "He is guilty of security-related crimes."

However, a December 2010 court ruling issued and signed by Supreme Court judges Morteza Fazel and Azizoallah Razaghi mentions the religious charges against Nadarkhani and nothing more.

"Mr. Youcef Nadarkhani, son of Byrom, 32 years old, married, born in Rasht in the state of Gilan, is convicted of turning his back on Islam, the greatest religion the prophesy of Mohammad at the age of 19," the document states.

"He has often participated in Christian worship and organized home church services, evangelizing and has been baptized and baptized others, converting Muslims to Christianity. He has been accused of breaking Islamic Law that from puberty (15 years according to Islamic law) until the age of 19 the year 1996, he was raised a Muslim in a Muslim home.

"During court trials, he denied the prophecy of Mohammad and the authority of Islam. He has stated that he is a Christian and no longer Muslim. During many sessions in court with the presence of his attorney and a judge, he has been sentenced to execution by hanging according to article 8 of Tahrir–olvasileh."

After the subpoena, the Supreme Court eventually ruled that the death penalty, on grounds of encouraging "other Muslims to convert to Christianity," should be upheld.

The new rape report was the first time that the Iranian government has mentioned any charge other than apostasy. Additionally, the little information from inside the Iranian court rooms that has surfaced indicates that Nadarkhani would be released if he chose to repent and convert to Islam.

"[Nadarkhani] was brought to court to repent for three days. He denied repentance on all three days," Nadarkhani's lawyer Mohammad Ali Dadkhah told the International Campaign for Human Rights last week.

"I said in my last defense that his execution is not an appropriate and legal action from the viewpoint of Sharia Law, our own laws, and international laws, and I believe that the court accepted my opinion," said Dadkhah. "I hope the court will vote for his acquittal and he will be released in the coming week.

"The Judge kept asking my client to say, 'I have renounced Christianity and I recognize Islam as rescinder of all other regions,' and he kept saying 'I won't say that.'"

Nadarkhani, who used to lead a congregation of about 400 people, was first arrested in Rasht in 2009. He was found guilty of apostasy in 2010 and sentenced to death, a sentence that has been upheld after a series of appeals that reached as far as Iran's Supreme Court.

As the case slowly garners international attention, the rape allegation is a signal that Nadarkhani has become, to put it bluntly, a public relations disaster for Iran.

In what could prove to be Nadarkhani's last days, world leaders have finally condemned the death sentence and pushed for the pastor's release.

On Thursday, a day after the death sentence was upheld during the final appeals trial, President Barack Obama and the White House had harsh words for Iran, calling the sentence a violation of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights, of which Iran is a signatory.

"The United States condemns the conviction of Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani. Pastor Nadarkhani has done nothing more than maintain his devout faith, which is a universal right for all people," the White House Press Secretary said in a statement.

"That the Iranian authorities would try to force him to renounce that faith violates the religious values they claim to defend, crosses all bounds of decency, and breaches Iran’s own international obligations. A decision to impose the death penalty would further demonstrate the Iranian authorities' utter disregard for religious freedom, and highlight Iran's continuing violation of the universal rights of its citizens. We call upon the Iranian authorities to release Pastor Nadarkhani, and demonstrate a commitment to basic, universal human rights, including freedom of religion."

A number of U.S. congressmen and Speaker of the House John Boehner, as well as Germany, the European Union and UK Foreign Secretary William Hague, have also issued statements deploring the death sentence.

The increased attention is again casting a negative light on Iran, which has been verbally attacked by Western powers and even al-Qaida in recent weeks.
Youcef Nadarkhani: Iran Says Pastor Guilty of Rape, not Apostasy
Daniel Tovrov, International Business Times, October 2, 2011

Muslim convert to Christianity missing after four plainclothes officers raid his home, confiscate his Bibles, and arrest him. Family threatened, told to remain silent and not talk about the incident[edit]

A believer of Muslim Background, Fariborz Arazm, has gone missing since his arrest last week by plain clothes security officers.

According to Mohabat News, on October 17, 2011, a group of four officers engaged in a commando-style raid on the house of Mr. Arazm, arresting him, then transferring him to an unknown location. The raid took place around 7:30 in the morning local time, just before he left for work.

The officers apparently searched the house upside-down and left a mess in their wake. The plainclothes officers confiscated Mr. Arazm's computer hard disk, CDs, pictures, and a number of Bibles. His family was also threatened to remain silent and not to talk about this incident to anyone.

Article 32 of the constitution of Islamic Republic of Iran clearly states that, "no one should be arrested, unless the legal warrant has been issued for the person. Also, the reason of the arrestment should be clearly notified to the arrestee. Accordingly, the initial case should be sent to be reviewed by the righteous judicial authorities within 24 hours. Also, the case should be processed as soon as possible."

NOT ALONE

At the same time, according to the report received by Mohabat News, another Christian by the name of "Mohammad" was arrested in another city named Shahriar. The authorities interrogated him for the charge of Christianity.

During the interrogation session, Mehdi stated that he was studying about the Christian religion. The interrogators then questioned him about his Christian faith in more detail, threatened him, and released him some hours later. This incident took place even though Article 23 of the constitution states that, "Inquisition is prohibited and no one should be harassed or interrogated because of his/her belief."

Notable here is that discrimination and persecution against the religious minorities has always been a major matter of violation of human rights situation by the Iranian regime during the past 30 years. Ahmad Shaheed, the United Nation's special rapporteur on the human rights situation in Iran, has also mentioned this issue in his first report about the human rights situation in Iran. He indicated in his report that the religious minorities inside Iran face serious restrictions regardign their rights and religious practices.

Mr. Arazm, 44, is the father of two children. He has not been able to contact nor visit his family since the arrest. Due to the nature of the situation, Mr. Arazm's family has suffered stress and anxiety, and are also concerned for his health. No information at time of the arrest was available as to the charges, but it is now known that the reason he is under arrest is related to his Christian faith.
Muslim Convert To Christianity Missing After Arrest
Marshall Ramsey II, Worthy News, October 28, 2011

Muslim convert to Christianity sentenced to six years in prison for "having his baptism performed in Turkey"[edit]

Alireza Seyyedian, 36, a Muslim who converted to Christianity six years ago, was sentenced to six years in prison by Branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court.

In an interview with the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, Mohammad Ali Dadkhah, Seyyedian’s lawyer, said that his client’s charges are “propaganda against the regime” and “acting against national security.”

“The judge said that by having his baptism performed in Turkey, he propagated against the regime. According to the judge, we have enough priests in Iran to baptize him,” said Dadkhah. “The judge’s interpretation was that by having his baptism in Turkey, my client’s intent was to express the lack of freedom in Iran.”

Dadkhah told the Campaign that Seyyedian’s court sentence explicitly noted that he propagated against the regime by holding his baptism in Turkey.

Seyyedian, who runs a house church, was first arrested in 2010 and released on $50,000 bail. His first court session was held at Branch 28 of the Revolutionary Court on 19 November 2011.

“The other allegations against my client were distributing videos of his baptism on the Internet and holding various interviews about [the baptism]. He is also charged with running a home church. He was holding regular meetings with other converts but they were not put on trial, only Alireza was. In any case, the judge noted all these items as propaganda against the regime and acting against national security,” said Dadkhah, adding that, “I tried defending my client by adding that these charges can all be considered propaganda against the regime, the sentence for which is only one year in prison.”

Dadkhah told the Campaign that since the contentious trial of Youcef Nadarkhani, he believes that courts, even if they are aware of certain facts of the case, don’t pursue them.

“The judge asked many questions specifically about why he held his baptism in Turkey but my client did not reply to this question. He also didn’t deny the accusation of uploading his baptism’s video on various Internet sites. My client did not deny any of the accusations.”
Christian Convert Imprisoned for Holding Baptism in Turkey
International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, December 14,2011

Convert from Islam to Christianity who was arrested in her home by authorities is sentenced to two years in prison after enduring 5 months of uncertainty in notorious Evin prison[edit]

A Christian convert whom security authorities arrested in her home was sentenced to two years in prison by the Revolutionary Court in Tehran.

According to reports sent by reporters of Iranian Christian news agency, Mohabat News, Ms. Leila Mohammadi, a Christian convert who resided east of Tehran, was sentenced to two years of imprisonment after enduring 5 months of uncertainty in notorious Evin prison.

Her trial was held on 18 January in Revolutionary Court in Moalem street where she was charged with "collaboration with foreign-dependent groups, broad anti-Islamic propaganda, deceiving citizens by formation of what is called a house church, Insulting sacred figures and action against national security." However she was acquitted of collaboration with foreign-dependent groups because the judge believed she had done that unintentionally. For the other charges she was sentenced to two years in prison and the ruling was delivered to her.

After the verdict was issued knowledgeable sources reported that her attorney announced that the case was sent to the high court of Tehran province to be reviewed.

Leila Mohammadi, was arrested after a number of security agents raided her home on 30 July, 2011 at 10:30 P.M. in Kianshahr town, east of Tehran. The agents thoroughly searched her house and also confiscated some of her belongings.

Ms. Mohammadi was taken to Horr custody center which belongs to the Iranian police forces. From there, she was transferred to Evin prison. On 28 December 2011, she was released on a bail of 150,000 USD after 74 days in harsh conditions in solitary confinement in Evin prison.

It is being reported that some other people were also arrested in relation to this case. According to this report, some days after Ms. Mohammadi's arrest, another person called Parviz G. was also arrested by security agents. Again, in this case they thoroughly searched Parviz G's house and seized his belongings including his computer. He was freed after spending three days in Evin custody center and being subjected to interrogations and signing a disclaimer. It seems that his arrest was related to evangelical activities of his wife "Masoumeh" who was linked to the case of Leila Mohammadi.

10 Christian converts arrested during prayer in a house church and transferred to an unknown location. Previously arrested on charges of “having a Christian faith”. Iran also bans Farsi speakers from entering churches[edit]

Plain clothes security authorities raided a house church and arrested 10 members who were gathered for prayer service. All 10 detainees were transferred to an unknown location.

According to Iranian Christian news agency, Mohabat News' reporters, following the continued arrests of Iranian Christians, Iranian security authorities invaded a residential building used as house church on 8 February 2012, and arrested 10 Christian converts gathered there to worship.

These believers who had gathered in a home to hold a worship service were arrested and transferred to an unknown location using a police vehicle.

The location of the detainees is still unknown despite their family's efforts. The authorities refuse to give any information in this regard.

Although precise details are still not available in this respect, the report from Mohabat News indicates that a man called Mojtaba Hosseini is among the people arrested. He was also arrested on 11 May, 2008 together with 8 other Christian converts on charges of having a Christian faith. Security officials had asked the then 21 year old, Mojtaba Hosseini to renounce his faith and collaborate with the Intelligence office.

It is also noteworthy that last month reports were published regarding the arrest of a number of Christians in the AOG church of Ahwaz including the pastor of the church and two other church members.

Today, the pressures and security measures implemented by the Islamic Republic against churches in Iran have resulted in the closure of churches in which services were being held in Farsi. The other churches which are allowed to remain open, are obliged by order of the Intelligence Ministry to prevent Farsi speakers from entering their churches.

School teacher and convert from Islam to Christianity charged with having faith in Christianity, denied access to a lawyer, sentenced to three years in prison[edit]

Inquiry court for Masoud Delijani, a Christian convert was held in Revolutionary Court of Kermanshah. He had been arrested by plain clothes security forces in a house church gathering.

According to reporters of Iranian Christian news agency, Mohabat News, Masoud Delijani has been sentenced in the Revolutionary Court of Kermanshah province to three years in prison.

Knowledgeable sources reported that the Christian convert was sentenced to three years in prison by the Revolutionary Court while the judicial process in this show-off court was unclear. He was also denied the right to choose his own advocate and was not even given the chance to defend himself against the charges. This sentence has been issued although the Islamic Republic constitution clearly states that all defendants have the right to access a lawyer and according to the law, the court should provide the means so that the accused will have access to a lawyer.

Masoud Delijani, a school teacher in Kermanshah, is now being held in Deizal-Abad prison of Kermanshah to serve his three year prison sentence. The central prison of Kermanshah, also known as Deizal-Abad is described as deplorable by knowledgeable sources.

The wife and family of Mr. Delijani are not in a good mental state knowing he should remain in prison for 3 years. Received report indicates that his wife is only allowed to have a brief visit with him every two or three weeks from behind a glass and through the intercom.
. . .

The court charged him with having faith in Christianity, holding illegal house church gatherings, evangelizing Muslims and action against national security.

78 year old convert arrested and her home raided; another newly wed convert also arrested and his wife interrogated, he is denied visits from wife and family and his wedding video may be used to identify other converts[edit]

According to Iranian Christian news agency, Mohabat News, security authorities of the Islamic Republic have started a broad systematic series of arrests in different parts of Iran, especially in Esfahan in an attempt to counter the growth of Christianity and the house church movement. The arrests in Esfahan which began with the arrest of Hekmat Salimi, pastor of the official church of St. Paul, are a continuation of the series of arrests of Christians in Ahwaz and Shiraz. On the morning of February 22, 2012, security authorities attacked his home in Fooladshahr, arrested him without providing a reason and transferred him to an unknown location.

Based on a published report, following that raid, a 78 year old Christian lady, Ms. Giti Hakimpour, a member and minister of St. Luke's church of Esfahan, was arrested in her flat that same day. Eyewitnesses said that there were both police and private cars parking down below her flat from 6 in the morning.
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The latest report by Iranian Christian news agency, Mohabat News, indicates that a Christian convert by the name of Majid Enayat, a member of a house church was also arrested following the arrests of numerous Christians in Esfahan. Security authorities arrested him in his workplace on the same day as other detainees i.e. February 22.

After the arrest, security authorities went to his house, searched it and seized some of his personal property. Majid Enayat had just married in the latter part of last summer. The officers even took the movies of his wedding ceremony with them and there is a concern that security authorities will use those movies to identify their Christian friends and other contacts.

After his arrest and until Friday, February 24, Majid's wife was also summoned for interrogation. She was also asked to bring some of Majid's personal things and give them to the Intelligence services. This implies that they are planning to keep him in jail for a long time.

Majid has been denied any contacts or visits from his wife or family since his arrest, the report adds.

In addition to a wave of arrests in Ahwaz, Shiraz, Esfahan and Tehran, 13 more Christian converts are insulted, abused and arrested in Kermanshah, their homes raided and some personal belongings confiscated[edit]

Following the attack of security authorities on a house church, 13 Christian converts were arrested. Three of them are being held in custody at an unknown location.
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With respect to the continued the anti-Christian wave in Iran during past months, numerous Christian converts have already been arrested in various cities in their house church gatherings, homes or workplaces by order of judicial and security authorities of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Now, in addition to Ahwaz, Shiraz, Esfahan and Tehran, this on-going wave has reached a city in the western part of Iran.

According to reporters of Iranian Christian news agency, Mohabat News, security authorities raided a house church in Kermanshah and arrested 13 Christians there. To date, no precise news is available regarding some of these detainees.

Base on this report, on February 21, 2012, at 7 in the evening, security authorities raided a home dedicated to be used a house church and seized all thirteen gathered there for worship.

During this incident, security authorities who were wearing plain clothes transferred these Christians to an unknown location while insulting and abusing them.

The authorities also invaded and thoroughly searched the detainees' homes and confiscated some of their personal belongings.

A knowledgeable source told Mohabat News, that the Christian detainees may have been transferred to a building in Hafezieh Junction in Kermanshah or 22-Bahman Street which is known as the place for security and intelligence forces.

"Where are you taking my daughter?" 2 converts arrested in their homes and taken to an undisclosed location, families not given access and are mocked by authorities who tell them, "Ask Jesus Christ to come and release her!"[edit]

A number of plain clothes security officers raided the homes of two Christian converts in Tehran simultaneously and arrested them. The mother of one of the detained Christians asked, "Where are you taking my daughter?" But the authorities ironically replied, "Ask Jesus Christ to come and release her"!

According to reporters of Iranian Christian news agency, Mohabat News, reports from Tehran state that on the morning of April 14, 2012 some security authorities raided the homes of two Christian converts by the names of Ladan N. and Hooman H. simultaneously and arrested them there.

The security authorities, among whom were plain clothes agents, entered the homes without showing any warrant and arrested the two Christians without providing any explanation. Both Christians were then transferred to an unknown location immediately following their arrest.

A source aware of the situation, confirmed the news and told Mohabat News, "The agents were wearing plain clothes and did not introduce themselves. They forced their way into the house and took Ladan with them. They didn't even allow her to put on appropriate clothes. In reply to her mother's question, "Where are you taking my daughter?" they just said, "Ask Jesus Christ to come and release her"!

According to this knowledgeable source, the authorities thoroughly searched the house and confiscated a number of her personal belongings including her laptop, camera and books as well as pictures of her friends being baptized in a foreign country.

The report says that the families of these detained Christians are unaware of their situation and are very worried about their health. Their efforts to visit their children and obtain information on their situation have been to no avail.

Ladan is 26 and Hooman is 27. It is said that they have been transferred to Evin prison and are being held there under custody. Some days ago, the court based in Evin prison sent letters of summons to the parents of these Christians and asked them to attend this court to answer questions regarding their children's activities.

Unsuccessful in reducing the number of Christian converts by banning Farsi language services, the Ministry of Intelligence now orders church leaders to compile a list of names and National ID numbers of its members[edit]

In addition to the increased restrictions against Iranian Christian converts, the Ministry of Intelligence has now ordered the leaders of the central AOG church in Tehran to compile a list of the names and National ID numbers of its members and submit it to the security authorities.

According to Iranian Christian news agency, Mohabat News, reports from Tehran indicate that leaders of the central AOG church of Tehran asked their congregation in Sunday May 6 service to voluntarily present them with a list of their names and National ID numbers so that they submit the list to the officials. This reveals the identity of Christian converts and enables security authorities to record detailed information about the Christians.

It is clear that such a decision by the leaders of the AOG church, is a result of pressures the security authorities have been imposing on them. This seems to be a precautionary move by the security organizations to identify Christians and possibly use the information later to arrest Christian converts and watch the activities of the church even more closely, especially to prevent them from receiving new people. Such orders by security authorities make Christians' relationship with their church riskier than ever.

This security move by Iranian authorities reveals that even after cancelling the Farsi services in some churches, they have not been successful in reducing the number of Christian converts and the trend by other people to attend the church. In recent months, organizers and operational groups of the Ministry of Intelligence ordered the last two churches in Tehran still holding Farsi services, to cancel these services. However, this has not stopped Christians from attending church services and illustrates the failure of all these repressive plans and threats which were designed to deal with spread of Christianity in Iran.
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Although the threats, arrests, imprisonments and tortures of Christians converts have backfired, and instead of preventing it the growth of Christianity in Iran has increased.The Ministry of Intelligence believes that the implementation of newer tactics and restrictions such as demanding Christians personal details would put them in quandary and confuse them whether give their information to the church or not. They assume that these would cause people to stop attending church services.

On the other hand, as part of their anti-Christian strategies, the officials in the think tank of the Ministry of Intelligence, design these orders to terrorize Christians and somehow show that the Islamic republic has sufficient power to identify Christian converts and summon or arrest them whenever it chooses to do so.

It is also obvious that the Ministry of Intelligence is giving a signal to dissuade Christians from attending church services by requesting their personal details, and thereby cause a drop in the number of attendees at church services. Some of those converted to Christianity are students at universities or are employed by government-run organizations, and thus it would certainly impact both their record and their future.

Muslim-born American pastor who converted to Christianity is imprisoned without notice of charges whilst visiting family, all communication devices confiscated and his family (also converts) placed under house arrest[edit]

A 32-year-old Iranian who is a U.S. citizen and a Christian convert has been imprisoned without notice of any formal charges while visiting his family in Iran, according to his wife and attorneys in the U.S., who are now hoping that a media campaign will help set him free.

The Rev. Saeed Abedini, who lives in the U.S. with his wife and two young children, was making one of his frequent visits to see his parents and the rest of his family in Iran, his country of origin and where he spent many years as a Christian leader and community organizer developing Iran's underground home church communities for Christian converts.

On this last trip, the Iranian government pulled him off a bus and said he must face a penalty for his previous work as a Christian leader in Iran.

He is currently awaiting trial at Iran's notoriously brutal Evin Prison, where he has been incarcerated since late September.

"When he became a Christian, he became a criminal in his own country. His passion was to reach the people of Iran," Naghmeh, his wife, said in an exclusive interview with Fox News.

"He comes from a very close-knit family, and he loved evangelizing and passing out Bibles on the streets of Tehran. This was his passion," she said.

In July, Abedini left his wife and kids to go to Iran to visit family and continue a humanitarian effort he began years ago to build an orphanage.

After a short visit to a nearby country, Abedini was traveling back into Iran to catch his flight back to the U.S. when members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard stopped his bus near the Turkey-Iran border and pulled Abedini from the bus, confiscating his passports and subjecting him to intense interrogation, according to his wife.

After weeks under house arrest and many calls to Iran's passport control office about the status of his confiscated passport, Abedini was told that his case has been referred to the Revolutionary Guard, the Iranian government's elite military force.

On Sept. 26, five men kicked open the door of Abedini's parents' residence in Tehran where they collected all communications devices and arrested him while placing the rest of his family members, who are also Christians converts from Islam, under house arrest.
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All religious minorities in Iran, including Bahais, Zoroastrians, Jews and Christians, have faced various forms of persecution and political and social marginalization throughout the regime’s 30-year reign. But the government saves its harshest retribution for those who have abandoned Islam.

During the many rounds of interrogations, Abedini has informally been told he will be charged for threatening the national security of Iran and espionage, due to his involvement with Christian house churches and foreign Christian satellite TV ministries.

The Iranian government offered bail in the amount of 500 million toman, or roughly $410,000. Abedini's family has prepared the bail documents many times already but have not been successful in having it accepted or approved, they say.