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Iran Arrests Five Christian Men Away on a Fishing Trip

Iran Arrests 43 Christians in the Last Month 

09/02/2016 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that five Iranian Christian men were arrested on Friday, August 26 during a fishing trip in the Alborz Mountains with their wives and families. They were reportedly arrested without a warrant during a communal picnic.

The families of Mohammad Dehnavi, Hadi Asgari, Afshar Naderi, Ramil Bet-Tamra and Amir Dashti have expressed concern for the men’s safety as they were taken to an undisclosed location. When Afshar Naderi asked to see an arrest warrant, the officials had him beaten, according to Middle East Concern (MEC).

Regional Manager for MEC, Rob Duncan, described the arrests as “absolutely illegal” and alarming, seeing that they took place at a picnic rather than a church gathering. Some fear that these arrests are meant to force confessions to obtain evidence against a prominent church leader, Pastor Victor Bet-Taraz.

All are understandably concerned, as there seems no reason for the arrest apart from to gather evidence to convict Pastor Victor and the others arrested at the same time,” Duncan told World Watch Monitor.

According to MEC, at least 43 Christians have been arrested in Iran in the last month.

“The Iranian regime is conducting a very active campaign against house churches at the moment and leaders of house churches are harassed and put under pressure,” Duncan explained to World Watch Monitor.

Sandra Elliot, ICC’s Program Coordinator, said, “We are greatly concerned for these five men who have been arrested under illegal circumstances. Iranian authorities should be ashamed of the way in which this case has been handled. We pray for comfort for the families and demand that the Iranian authorities disclose the location of these five and immediately release them.

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