Three Christian converts in Iran are now facing flogging as punishment for taking "illegal" Holy Communion wine.
On May 13, Iranian police took three Christians along with Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani and his wife for taking "illegal" Holy Communion wine. They later released the couple but detained Yasser Mossayebzadeh, Mohammad Reza Omidi, and Saheb Fadaie, who were charged with "acting against national security," Christians in Pakistan details.
The three Christians are expected to receive a verdict next week. They would most likely be flogged if found guilty.
Meanwhile, Rob Duncan of Middle East Concern said the Iranian regime has launched a strong campaign against house churches. In line with this campaign, Christian leaders have been harassed and pressured by the government. Duncan also decried the continuous deterioration of religious freedom in the last year, especially for Christians, Sunni Muslims, Baha'is, and other religious minorities in the country.
Since President Hassan Rouhani came to power in 2013, the number of people imprisoned for their religious beliefs has increased. In the past year, around 200 Christians have been jailed, and another 43 Christians were arrested just last month.
Near the end of August, the Iranian regime executed 12 prisoners in Gohardasht Prison in Karaj. United Nations expert and Special Rapporteur on Iran Human Rights Ahmed Shaheed had repeatedly called for the executions to be stopped, but to no avail, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCR-I) reports.
The NCR-I also identified nine out of the 12 prisoners executed in Iran last month. Alireza Madadpour, Bahman Rezai, Alireza Asadi, Arman Bahrami, Mohsen Eslami, Mehdi Rostami, Hosein Bayrami, and Amir and Alireza Sarkhah were among those executed.
In a statement, Shaheed denounced the Iranian government's execution of people who have not met the international standards for the "most serious crimes." He then renewed his call to issue a moratorium on the executions and reserve the death penalty for intentional crimes and other acts that fall under "most serious crimes."