Iran Frees Four Christian Converts; Others Jailed
IRAN (BosNewsLife)– Iran this month released at least four former Muslims who were detained because of their conversion to Christianity and Christian activities, according to friends and rights activists.
The advocacy group Middle East Concern (MEC) confirmed to BosNewsLife that Ladan N., 26, and Hooman H., 27, were freed on bail June 10 as they paid 325,000 dollars each after one week of solitary confinement and 58 days of regular detention in Tehran’s notorious Evin prison.
Christians did not reveal the full names of the young men amid security concerns.
Iranian authorities reportedly charged the Christians with “apostasy”, or abandoning Islam, as well as “actions against national security” which officials said included “desecrating holy figures” on the Internet, attending unauthorized house churches and “going to a party to celebrate the baptism of a Christian believer.”
The two men were allegedly often interrogated along with their summoned parents.
Also on June 10, Iran released Pastor Mehdi “Petros” Foroutan who served about one year in Abel Abad Prison in the city of Shiraz, following a police crackdown on his and other house churches, a spokesman told BosNewsLife earlier.
Jason DeMars, who helped the 27-year-old pastor with advocacy, explained that Foroutan was released after his jail sentence for “crimes against national security” because of his Christian faith.”
Pastor Mehdi “Petros” Foroutan was recently released.
Additional death-sentence-carrying charges of “blasphemy”, the word used for “abandoning Islam”, were dropped, Christians said earlier.
He one of five Christians who were summoned in September 2011 to arrive at the detention facility to serve the prison term. A summon against another believer was eventually dropped, while three others “still need protection,” MEC said.
Shortly before the pastor’s release, authorities on June 7 freed a Christian woman, Forough Dashtiani, who was jailed with her husband Mehrdad Sajjadi last month.