Four converts arrested in Karaj

Four converts arrested in Karaj

Four Christian converts – Sara Rahimi Nejad, Majid Sheidaei, Mostafa Nadri and George Issaian – were arrested by plainclothes security officers in Fardis, Karaj on New Year’s Eve, according to the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran.

ICHRI’s source reported that “several Christian converts had gathered at the home of George Issaian to celebrate the New Year when plainclothes forces stormed the home, beat up those in attendance, and arrested them in an insulting way”.

The source said the agents searched the home and the converts, and confiscated “a computer, laptops, CDs, family albums, a satellite receiver, and several books and notes”.

The source added that the families of those detained had not received any news about their situation, despite visiting both Tehran’s security police and Evin Prison.

Iran continues to harass and arrest Christians, especially over the Christmas and New Year period, as Christians gather to celebrate the birth of Jesus.

On Christmas Day, five more Christian converts – Ahmad Bazyar, Faegheh Nasrollahi, Mastaneh Rastegari, Amir Hossein Nematollahi, and a man with the surname Hosseini – were arrested at a “house church” in eastern Tehran.

Nothing more is known about their situation other than that a family member of one of the five said they had been arrested by Revolutionary Guards and taken to Ward 2A of Evin Prison.

Meanwhile, Mohabat News has reported that another Christian, Hossein Saketi Aramsari, has been sentenced to one year in prison at Branch 1 of the Karaj Revolutionary Court, under Judge Assef Hosseini.

Hossein, known as Stephen, was arrested in northern Iran last summer and is being detained in Ward 7 of Karaj’s Central Prison.

In another development, Persian-speaking Christians have been banned from entering the evangelical St Peter’s Church in Tehran. Earlier, due to pressure from the Islamic Republic, the Central Assemblies of God Church on Taleghani Street in Tehran, the largest Persian-speaking church in Iran, was closed and remains so.

Human rights violations have continued in Iran, despite the arrival of the “moderate” Hassan Rouhani as president. The UN’s Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Iran, Ahmed Shaheed, noted in his report last year that “restrictions on the rights of religious minorities, freedom of expression and religious activities of Christians, Baha’is, Sunni Muslims, Dervishes and other non-Shiite religious communities continue, and the human rights situation in Iran is not improving”.

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