Six Christian leaders arrested in Shiraz

Six Christian leaders arrested in Shiraz

Six Christian leaders have been arrested in Shiraz and taken to an unknown location.

The arrests took place on Friday, 20 June, at the house of a man known only by his surname, Fazli.

In addition to Mr Fazli and his wife, two women – Mitra Sotoodeh and Parastoo Shahabi – were arrested, as well as a man known only by his first name, Mohammad Reza, and another unidentified individual.

Armed plainclothes agents insulted the Christians and intimidated other residents of the building, stopping traffic at the entrance for hours while they conducted a search of Mr Fazli’s house. They also confiscated booklets, computers and satellite-television equipment, and destroyed the satellite dish on top of the building.

There is still no news about where the Christians were taken.

The pressure on Iranian Christian leaders has increased during the past few years, following warnings from Iranian officials about the growth of “house churches”. In recent months, a number of Christians have been assaulted, harassed and arrested in various provinces.

In some cases, Persian-language churches have been shut down and Christians prevented from practising their faith.

Ahmed Shaheed, the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Iran, said in his detailed recent report that the repression and imprisonment of Iranian Christians, particularly converts, was “disturbing”.