Authorities Raid Homes of Three Christians, Pastor Irani Refused Conditional Release

ICC Note: Iran has continued its crackdown on religious minorities across the country. Three more Iranian Christians had their homes raided and many of their goods confiscated by the Iranian intelligence service. As is common, the intelligence urged the men to flee the country before they face additional charges and arrests.

02/18/2015 Iran (CSW) Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) has been informed that Iranian intelligence (VEVAK) agents raided the homes of Yasser Mosayebzadeh, Saheb Fadaie and Mehdi Reza Omidi (Youhan) in Rasht on 16 February, confiscating bibles, laptops, Christian CDs and literature.

During the raids the three men were ordered to report to VEVAK on 17 February to answer questions. CSW was informed that when the men reported to VEVAK officers as requested, they were politely asked to leave the country.

The reason for the raids remains unclear; however, Mehdi Reza Omidi (Youhan) was part of a group of four Christians who in October 2013 were charged with drinking alcohol during a communion service, and possessing a receiver and satellite antenna. The group was sentenced to 80 lashes each for the offences. Mehdi Reza Omidi (Youhan) was previously detained on 31 December 2012, during a government crackdown on house churches. However, another motive for the arrests may be that all three men are members of the leadership team of the church run by Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani, who was sentenced to death for ‘apostasy’ in 2010 and acquitted in 2012.

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