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ICC Note:

The whereabouts of a newly converted Iranian Christian remain unknown two weeks after he was arrested, and his family has yet to be informed of the charges. It is assumed that he is being kept in an old military barrack which belongs to the intelligence forces of the Sepah. He was recently given permission to contact his family for the first time, who had to travel over two hours in order to find a lawyer willing to accept their son’s case. But with his whereabouts and charges unknown, navigating the situation remains incredibly difficult.

10/23/2017 Iran (Mohabat News) –  After 2 weeks from the arrest of Mohammad Ali Torabi, one of the newly converted Christians in the South Western city of Dezful, his family has failed to locate his whereabouts and to be informed of the charges against him from the judicial authorities.

Mohammad Ali Torabi, 39 years old, was arrested on Tuesday October 10, 2017 at his work place in the city of Dezful by the security forces and taken to an undisclosed location belonging to the Ministry of Information of the city of Ahwaz.

Although his exact whereabouts in unknown, it is assumed that he is being kept in an old military barrack located in an area known as “Chahar Shir”, which connects to the local airport facility. This facility belongs to the intelligence forces of the Sepah and it is said that other detainees have been taken to the solitary cells in this facility.

Informed sources have reported that Mr. Torabi had been promised that he would be released after 5 days once his interrogation is over, but his detention has been extended for unknown reasons.

Currently, after 2 weeks of detention, he was given permission once to contact his family.

Mr. Torabi’s family were unable to find a lawyer in the city of Dezful. No laywer was willing to accept his case. Therefore his family had to travel to Ahwaz, the Capital of the province in order to retain a lawyer for Mr. Torabi.

The family of Mr. Torabi took the lawyer’s acceptance letter to the office of the Ministry of Information last Thursday, but they were told to return on Saturday for formal notification of the government about his legal representation.

Sources close to Mr. Torabi’s family say that his arrest are due to his activities in promoting Christianity.

The Islamic Republic of Iran has banned Farsi speaking churches from operatin in Iran since 2012. As a result, newly converted Christians in Iran are forced into house-churches, which are illegal in Iran.

From the point of view of the government and other security establishments these gatherings are considered illegal and often they are subjected to home invasions by the security forces. The leaders and members of these house churches are often arrested and charged with inciting anti-government and “national security” activities such as the establishment of house churches and the promotion of Christianity.

Recently, Benjamin Natanyahou, the Prime Minister of Israel in one of his speeches given to the Christian media accused Iran of gross violation of the human rights of Christians in Iran. Mr. Natanyahou accused some of the world leaders of compromise and intentional negligence of this matter for the sake of better relations with the leaders of Iran. He mentioned the difficult condition of the Christian minority in Iran and added that Christians in Iran are persecuted mercilessly. Pastors are imprisoned without cause and Iranian Christians are brutally tortured and persecuted for their religious beliefs.

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