Rights group: Iran sentencing Christian converts to long prison terms

Special to WorldTribune.com

Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty

The Center For Human Rights In Iran (CHRI) has voiced concern over what it says is a “disturbing trend” of arrests and imprisonments of Christian converts in Iran.

An Iranian Christian women lights candles in a church in Tehran. / epa

The New York-based rights group said on July 20 that in less than two months, eleven Christian converts and the former leader of the Assyrian Pentecostal Church in Iran have been sentenced to long prison terms.

“Christians are recognized as an official religious minority in Iran’s Constitution, but the state continues to persecute members of the faith, especially converts,” CHRI’s executive director, Hadi Ghaemi, said in a statement.

Activists say that dozens of Christian converts have been arrested and harassed in recent years in Iran, where according to applied Islamic laws a Muslim who converts to another faith can face the death penalty.

Christian groups say that that the number of converts in Iran is growing despite the state pressure.

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