The lawyer representing two Christian pastors and a deacon facing six years in prison in Iran for their faith has reportedly been denied access to his clients ahead of an appeal hearing.
"It is unacceptable that these men have been denied access to their legal counsel ahead of the court hearing. We remain concerned about the lack of due process in their case and the exceptional nature of their punishment. They have committed no crime and are effectively being punished for their faith," said Christian Solidarity Worldwide's Chief Executive Mervyn Thomas on Monday.
"We are deeply concerned for their wellbeing and, in particular, for pastor Irani's health, which has deteriorated significantly during his unjust detention. We urge the Iranian authorities to release these men and the many others who are being held in contravention of the international covenants guaranteeing freedom of religion or belief to which Iran is party," Thomas added. more >>
The Islamic State terrorist organization now has at least 12 known military allies, operating in nine countries outside of Iraq and Syria, that have publicly pledged their allegiances to the caliphate of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
As Islamic State leadership continues to call on extremists worldwide to wreak havoc on the West, NYMag.com's Daily Intelligencer reports that the Terrorism Research & Analysis Consortium (TRAC) has identified 12 international militia organizations that are now affiliating their efforts with the Islamic State's jihad and could help expand the group's caliphate.
Militia allies in Pakistan, Algeria, Libya, Egypt, Indonesia, Lebanon, Philippines, Jordan and Gaza/Israel have all announced some sort of cooperation with the Islamic State and al-Baghdadi. Many of these organizations were recently affiliated with Al Qaeda and have since switched to ISIS allegiances over the summer and into the fall. more >>
A former Islamic State commander, currently locked away in a Baghdad prison, is now a key informant for the Iraqi government and has provided crucial intelligence that has aided the liberation of strategic areas that were once under ISIS control.
After being arrested by the Iraqi government at the end of 2013, Abu Shakr, ISIS' head of security operations in the town of Fallujah, was given a choice by Iraqi security officials.
The 36-year-old Sunni extremist said in a recent interview with The Associated Press that the offer was if he aided the Iraqi government in defeating ISIS, he would be provided special prison privileges including free roam of his max-security prison and quality free time with his five children. more >>
Family members of the Pakistan Christian couple burned to death say they are being pressured to drop their calls for a criminal case and demand the government to protect them, in a recent press conference.
Shahbaz Masih and wife Parveen are petitioning the government to get justice for his brother Shehzad Masih and sister-in-law Shama, who was believed to be pregnant when a mob, allegedly led by Muslim clerics, burned them alive in a kiln. So far regional Kot Radha Kishan police have arrested 44 people in connection to the incident.
However the Masih family says they are receiving threats to drop their pleas for an investigation. The family said they have also been offered bribes of land and money to end the case. But they are determined to get justice for their family. more >>
For the first time since the Islamic State seized most of the Nineveh province in northern Iraq over the summer, a Christian mass was successfully held at a church in a small Iraqi village nearly 20 miles north of the ISIS stronghold of Mosul this past Sunday, Iraqi News reports indicate.
Although reports coming from Iraqi news outlets originally said that the mass was held at the Mar Yacob Church in the Christian village of Telskuf, Father Paulus Thabit Makku, a Chaldean priest in Mosul, told Fides News that the Eucharist was held at the only other church in Telskuf, Saint Georges Chaldean church.
"We celebrated the Eucharist this Sunday in one of the Nineveh province's villages – the first time since locals were forced out last August by ISIS jihadists," Father Makku said. more >>
President Barack Obama needs to include the release of pastor Saeed Abedini, the U.S. citizen who's serving an eight-year sentence in Iran for his Christian faith, in the upcoming nuclear deal talks with Iran, said Jay Sekulow, the chief counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice.
"We want to see ALL Americans held in Iran's prisons freed and have been working for more than two years to secure the release of pastor Saeed as we represent his wife and two young children who reside in the U.S.," Sekulow said in an article for Fox News on Tuesday.
A deadline for a deal concerning Iran's nuclear capabilities is set to be reached on Nov. 24, and Sekulow suggested that the Obama administration is ready to trust that Iran will not create nuclear weapons, as it has promised. Secretary of State John Kerry has said that he trusts Iran's fatwa, a religious declaration, "enormously as a matter of religious edict." more >>