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02/16/2021 Iran (International Christian Concern) –  Ibrahim Firouzi, an Iranian Christian convert, was arrested on February 8 on charges of propaganda and blasphemy. Firouzi began a hunger strike a few days later on February 13, saying he will not eat again until this latest round of charges against him are dropped.

Iranian officials have monitored Firouzi since his first arrest in 2011 and was imprisoned between 2013 and 2019. Following his incarceration, Firouzi was sent to a remote, southeastern city to serve a two-year internal exile sentence. In March 2020, authorities notified him that his sentence was extended for 11 months due to his absence, though he was previously informed to stop his daily check-ins.

While serving his internal exile sentence, Firouzi decided to speak up regarding the abuse and mistreatment both he and his family members had received. Six videos were released via a Switzerland-based activist that detailed the abuse he experienced from Iranian intelligence. Only two days after the videos were released, he received a summons to respond to allegations of propaganda against Iran. When he appeared in court, he was arrested and detained in Chabahar prison.

Firouzi’s last charges in October 2020 were later dropped, though he remained a person of interest to the Iranian government. Authorities closely monitor the movement of Christians and house churches in the country, seeing Christianity as a threat to the stability of the state and to Islam directly.

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