Isfahan brothers still missing after Christmas arrest

Isfahan brothers still missing after Christmas arrest

Mahmoud Mardani-Kharaji (left) and his brother Mansour.

Two brothers remain missing more than a month after their arrest at a Christmas gathering near Isfahan.

Mansour Mardani-Kharaji, 42, and his brother Mahmoud, 40, were with around eight other Christians at a house-church meeting in Fooladshahr on 22 December when the celebration was raided by plainclothes officials, who showed no warrant and did not state which agency they came from.

Iranian Christian website Mohabat News, which reported the news earlier today, explained to Article18 that Mansour and Mahmoud’s family members, not knowing which agency was responsible for their arrest, have only been threatened and mocked by the local officials they have spoken to, as they have anxiously sought information about their loved ones.

It is not uncommon for Christians in Iran to be held incommunicado for a few days before being able to contact their families, but it is unusual for them to be held for so long without any word.

The only recent examples of incommunicado detention of Iranian Christians extending as long as a month were Mary Mohammadi in January–February 2020 and Ayoob Poor-Rezazadeh in September–October 2021.

Both were eventually released, but this will not ease the fears of Mansour and Mahmoud’s families at this time.

Last week, Iran was once again ranked among the top-10 worst persecutors of Christians on the annual World Watch List by Open Doors International.

Tomorrow, Article18 will publish its latest annual report, in collaboration with Open Doors, CSW and Middle East Concern, highlighting the myriad ways in which the rights of Christians in Iran continue to be violated, in spite of regime figures repeated claims to the contrary.

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