Iranian Authorities Arrest 5 New Christian Converts

Security officers in Iran recently arrested five newly converted Christians and the leader of the house church they were meeting in, reported a Farsi Christian news agency.

The authorities were in plain clothes when they raided the house church located in the northern city of Karaj, according to sources of Farsi Christian News Network. The arrested Christians were gathering in the house church for worship and Bible study during the raid.

According to FCNN sources, no arrest or search warrant was given by the security officers to the house church leader when they invaded his house.

Several Bibles and New Testaments were confiscated during the raid. The newly converted Christians and house church leader have been taken to an undisclosed location. Authorities have refused to reveal to the detainees' family members where they have taken them.

"Iran should refrain from invading Christian houses, arresting converts and confiscating their properties," said Jonathan Racho, regional manager for Africa and the Middle East at International Christian Concern. "Iran must allow its citizens to choose what religion to follow.

"We call upon Iranian officials to release the five Christians arrested in Karaji as well as Marzieh and Maryam."

Since March, two young women, also recent converts to Christianity from Islam, have been held in the notorious Evin prison that American journalist Roxana Saberi had also been kept in.

Maryam Rostampour, 27, and Marzieh Amirizadeh, 30, have been held without charge and are said to be in poor health. Requests by their families to see the women have been declined.

They are said to be undergoing excessive interrogation and psychological pressure such as sleep deprivation in order to get them to confess.

Iran's parliament is in the final stages of passing a new law that would add apostasy, the renouncing of one's faith, to the list of acts that would be punished with execution.

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