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ICC Note: Iran’s crackdown on Christians continues to show no sign of slowing down. Four more Christians were arrested on New Year’s Eve in the village of Karaj, just outside of Tehran. Another group of Christians were arrested on Christmas day. Details about the location of the prisoners or their conditions are limited. Both through the shutting down of officially recognized churches and the continued raids on homes of Christians, the Iranian regime continues to repress Christianity.
01/10/2014 Iran (ICHRI) – Plainclothes officers arrested four Christian converts in a village outside of Tehran on Tuesday, December 31, 2013, a source close to Iran’s Christian converts told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran. Sara Rahiminejad, Majid Sheidaee, Mostafa Nadri, and George Issaian were violently arrested at the latter’s home in Fardis village of Karaj, 36 kilometers outside Tehran, as they celebrated the Christian New Year.
“Several Christian converts had gathered at the home of George Issaian to celebrate the New Year when plainclothes forces stormed the home, beat up those in attendance, and arrested them in an insulting way,” the source told the Campaign. According to the source, the forces first searched Mr. Issaian’s home and the personal belongings of the attendees and then confiscated “a computer, laptops, CDs, family albums, a satellite receiver, and several books and notes.”
The source also told the Campaign that despite trips to the Tehran Security Police and Evin Prison, the families of the detainees have not yet been able to have any information about the conditions of their relatives and remain in the dark about their situation.
Arrests and persecution of Christian converts by security and military organizations have continued in force for years and the threats, summonses, and arrests intensify annually at Christmastime and into the New Year celebrations, when Christians gather to worship and partake in the celebrations.
Several other Christian converts, Ahmad Bazyar, Faegheh Nasrollahi, Mastaneh Rastegari, Amir Hossein Nematollahi, and a man by the last name of Hosseini were arrested in a house church in Eastern Tehran on Christmas day. Two weeks after their arrests, no detailed information is yet available about their conditions, except that a source informed Ahmad Bazyar’s family that the group was arrested by the IRGC and that they are currently in IRGC’s Ward 2-A inside Evin Prison.
According to another report about the persecution of Iranian Christians, the Karaj Revolutionary Court sentenced Hossein Saketi Aramsari, a Christian convert, to one year in prison. Mohabbat News, the Iranian Christian News Agency, reported that Judge Assef Hosseini, Head of Branch One of Karaj Revolutionary Court, sentenced Mr. Saketi, known as Stephan, who was arrested in Northern Iran last summer. Hossein Saketi is currently at Ward 7 of Central Karaj Prison.

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