Iran: Christian converts to challenge 80 lashes sentence for drinking Communion wine

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Three Iranian Christian converts are challenging their sentence of 80 lashes for drinking Communion wine. The converts are appealing against criminal convictions for drinking wine during Holy Communion. The three identified as Yasser Mossayebzadeh, Saheb Fadaie and Mohammad Reza Omidi were handed down punishment of 80 lashes for taking communion wine.

Christians persecuted in Iran

Iranian law prohibits Non-Muslims to drink alcohol which renders Communion wine illegal. The third Christian Omidi has already been convicted for drinking alcohol. In case he is convicted this time, which will be the third time he is likely to face the death sentence. The three men have also been charged of acting against the national security. Christian persecution watchdog World Watch Monitor has confirmed that the three men have been charged of acting against national security.

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Since 2015, more than 200 Christians have been put behind the bars. At least 43 Christians were hooked in August this year, which portrays the Iranian regime’s anti-Christian drive. Remarking regarding this case, Cief executive of Release International, Paul Robinson said: “Why should Christians be lashed for taking communion? And why is Iran refusing to allow its own citizens that most basic of all freedoms, the freedom to choose their own faith? These men have chosen to call themselves Christians. The state should respect that.”

Rob Duncan of Middle East Concern said: “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.” Middle East Concern has called for prayers for the persecuted Christians across the globe especially for Christian converts in Iran.