Christian convert still in custody after Christmas Eve arrest

Christian convert still in custody after Christmas Eve arrest

A Christian convert previously forced to attend “re-education” sessions with an Islamic cleric remains detained following his arrest during a Christmas Eve raid on his home in Dezful, western Iran.

Esmaeil Narimanpour’s home was searched and his Christian books confiscated during the 6pm raid, though the arresting agents did not have a warrant.

Esmaeil was able to call his family briefly on Christmas Day to tell them that he was being held in Ahvaz, 150km south of Dezful. 

However, when his wife and brother went to follow up on his case, they were themselves questioned and detained for several hours.

At least three other Christians were reportedly arrested over the Christmas period in separate incidents in Ahvaz and Izeh, 200km east of Ahvaz, though Article18 is not at liberty to provide any more information about these arrests.

Meanwhile, four Christian converts, including an Afghan refugee, remain detained following their arrest after an 11 December raid on a house-church gathering near Tehran.

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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