Four Christian converts including Afghan refugee remain detained three weeks after arrest

Four Christian converts including Afghan refugee remain detained three weeks after arrest

Four Christian converts, including an Afghan refugee, remain in detention over three weeks after their arrest in Shahriar, west of Tehran.

Siroos Khosravi.

The arrests followed an 11 December raid by 30 intelligence agents on a house-church gathering, where around 25 men, women and children had gathered to pray and worship together and to plan their Christmas celebration.

The agents read out the names of three of the individuals present, two of whom – a woman in her early thirties and a 70-year-old man – were arrested on the spot, while the third, a man named Siroos Khosravi, was arrested three days later after answering a summons for further questioning.

All three of the individuals whose names had been read out were driven to their homes, which were searched, while all others present at the gathering were forced to fill out forms containing questions regarding their Christian faith and activities, and told they would soon be summoned for further questioning.

The Afghan refugee was arrested separately, though the details of his arrest remains unknown; his fate was only discovered when the families of those arrested in Shahriar saw him in handcuffs alongside their loved ones, when visiting the prosecutor’s office to seek information about them the day after their arrests.

Article18’s director Mansour Borji commented: “We are outraged that Christians in Iran have yet again been arrested during the Christmas season, when the Iranian government has continued its pattern of intimidation and crackdown on Christians during this holy season.

“We’re particularly concerned for the safety and well-being of those detained, and especially for the Afghan refugee, who is even more vulnerable.”

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