Five Christians in Iran arrested for "endangering national security" by evangelizing and spreading their faith have been handed exorbitant bail terms, a persecution watchdog group said.
"CSW is concerned that the Iranian authorities continue to characterize legitimate religious activities as crimes against the state," revealed Andrew Johnston, advocacy director at Christian Solidarity Worldwide in a statement.
The five men – Mohammad Roghangir, Surush Saraie, Eskandar Rezaie, Shahin Lahooti and Massoud Rezaie – all members of the Church of Iran, were arrested on Oct. 12 last year during an evening raid at a house prayer service in Shiraz. more >>
Amid reports that Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani may have been hanged by Iranian authorities for his faith, a U.K.-based rights group said Friday sources inside Iran have confirmed that he is still alive.
Pictures purporting to show a man being hanged are being attributed as evidence of the pastor's death but the man in the photos is not Pastor Nadarkhani, Christian Solidarity Worldwide noted Friday.
Even as reports that the 34-year-old pastor had been hanged re-emerged Friday, CSW said in a statement that its sources inside Iran have confirmed Nadarkhani is still alive. The rumor initially surfaced last week. more >>
Recent reports indicate that five Christian members of the Church of Iran will soon be going on trial for their religion, facing multiple charges which include threatening national security and evangelism.
The five imprisoned men, Mohammad Roghangir, Surush Saraie, Eskandar Rezaie, Shahin Lahooti and Massoud Rezaie have been detained since October 2012, and are facing charges of disturbing public order, evangelizing, action against national security and an internet activity against the system, according to religious persecution watchdog group Christian Solidarity Worldwide.
The trial for the five men will begin at the Revolutionary Court in Shiraz, located in the Fars Province, on March 10. more >>
Naghmeh Abedini, the wife of Pastor Saeed Abedini, who is currently serving an 8-year sentence in Tehran, Iran, has written a long letter describing the ordeal of their experience, saying that it is a real human story that crosses political and religious barriers.
"This nightmare and the plea for my husband's life should cross religious and political barriers," Nagmeh writes in her letter, posted by the American Center for Law and Justice, which is representing her and the couple's two children, living in Idaho.
The Iranian-born pastor has been inside Evin Prison in Tehran ever since his arrest in September 2012 and his subsequent sentencing. The Iranian court convicted him of endangering national security, but the ACLJ says that the real reason behind the trial was that Abedini has helped many Christians in underground churches in Iran since his conversion to Christianity in 2000. more >>
Recent reports indicate that Pastor Behnam Irani, who has been held in Iran's Ghezal Hesar prison since 2006 for his Christian faith, is not receiving medical treatment as his health continues to rapidly decline.
Over the past several months, the pastor, who previously led the Church of Iran in the city of Karaj in Alborz Province, has suffered from internal bleeding due to ulcers, complications with his colon, and declining vision.
The only medical assistance the pastor has received from prison authorities includes being provided tablets to stop his internal bleeding, which at one point caused him to lose consciousness. more >>
Pastor Saeed Abedini, the American pastor serving an 8-year sentence in Tehran, Iran, is being pressured into converting back to Islam, but he has said that that will never happen.
"After all of these pressures, after all of the nails they have pressed against my hands and feet, they are only waiting for one thing…for me to deny Christ," Abedini wrote in a letter obtained by the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), who is representing his wife and two children back in America.