IRAN: Four Christians sentenced to 80 lashes for drinking Communion wine.
According to details, four Iranian Christians were reportedly sentenced to 80 lashes for drinking wine for communion. A United Nations report denounces the Islamic republic for its regular persecution of non-Muslim citizens.
The four men were sentenced on 6th of October, 2013 after being booked by the police from a house Church last December. According to Christian Solidarity Worldwide, “Police charged them with consuming alcohol in violation of the theocracy’s strict laws.” They are in the midst of several Christians who are being punished or persecuted for their faith in a land where converting from Islam to Christianity brings death penalty.
“The sentences handed down to these members of the Church of Iran effectively criminalize the Christian sacrament of sharing in the Lord’s Supper and constitute an unacceptable infringement on the right to practice faith freely and peaceably,” Mervyn Thomas, chief executive of Christian Solidarity Worldwide, said.
In a latest UN report Ahmed Shaheed- UN special reporter on human rights in Iran says, “Such persecution is common, despite new President Hasan Rouhani’s pledge to be a moderate. At least 20 Christians were in custody in July 2013. In addition, violations of the rights of Christians, particularly those belonging to evangelical Protestant groups, many of whom are converts, who proselytize to and serve Iranian Christians of Muslim background, continue to be reported.”
The UN report states Iran’s “Authorities continue to compel licensed Protestant Churches to restrict Persian-speaking and Muslim-born Iranians from participating in services, and raids and forced closures of house churches are ongoing…More than 300 Christians have been arrested since 2010, and dozens of church leaders and active community members have reportedly been convicted of national security crimes in connection with church activities, such as organizing prayer groups, proselytizing and attending Christian seminars abroad. “
Consequently, a retired California pastor, Eddie Romero, rushed to Iran demanding release of imprisoned Iranian Christians. Pastor Romero staged a protest in front of Iran’s disreputable Evin prison, chanting “Let my people go.” Prison officials detained him and sent him back to the U.S.