12/18/2010, 00.00
IRAN

Iran: Christians jailed for three months over evangelizing activities

A group of nine Christians arrested in Hamadan are in prison, after being held in isolation without specific charges. The media speak of "Christian Zionists." Their main fault seems to be their success in conversions.

Tehran (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Nine Christians have been held in prison in Iran for three months without charges. On the day of their arrest, 19 September 2010, state television said: "A group of nine Christians have been arrested in Hamadan on charges of evangelization activities." Local sources reported security forces statements, according to which the group's purpose was to destroy the Islamic Republic of Iran. The text referred several times to the nine calling them "Christian Zionists."

The names of four of them (five are of unknown identity) are Vahik Abrahamian his wife Sonia Keshish Avanessian (Armenian-Iranian), Arash Kermanjany and Arezou Teimour, Iranians who speak Farsi. The security forces according to the report broke into the house Abrahamian and arrested him together with his wife and two other Christian converts who were his guests. The house was searched, and officers seized various personal items. Later the group was taken to an unknown location.

Other Christian converts were arrested and interrogated in Karaj, Tehran and Hamadan, and some of them were released after having ensured they would stop all evangelization activities. The four arrested in Hamad instead have been imprisoned in the Hamadan prison, in the fourth section, and the women's section. All were placed in isolation for forty days before being transferred to the Hamadan prison, and in that period could not be contacted by families. But in the meantime, the courts have not yet explained why they were imprisoned, or brought specific allegations against them.

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