Religious Freedom

Father jailed in Iran for son’s Facebook posts

Yashar Khameneh and his father

Yashar Khameneh, a 25-year-old Iranian student living in Holland, is receiving international attention for his efforts to release his father from a Tehran prison over the younger Khameneh’s satirical Facebook posting about a revered Muslim cleric. The posting first appeared on someone else’s site, but Khameneh also put some satirical posts on his own site, which led Iranian authorities to his family, this year, after a rapper made fun of the same cleric.

His father called him at the end of May to tell him that agents of Iran’s intelligence wanted access information for the Facebook pages with the intent of removing the offensive material. While Khameneh closed down his personal site, he could not get the satire site to remove his material. The next day, his mother and sister called him to say that his father had been imprisoned and would remain in jail until the post was removed and that’s where things stand.

Shahin Najafi, an Iranian rapper based in Germany last month became known as “the Salman Rushdie of music” after clerics in the Islamic republic issued fatwas calling him an apostate, which is considered punishable by death under sharia law. He had released a song with references to the imam.

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New court date set for jailed Iranian pastor Youcef Nadarkhani

A new court date has been set for Youcef Nadarkhani, the Iranian pastor on death row who has been imprisoned for nearly 1,000 days, but his supporters remain in the dark about what it could mean for his ultimate fate.

Nadarkhani, 35, is scheduled to appear in court on Sept. 8, according to Jordan Sekulow, executive Director of the American Center for Law and Justice, which has been closely monitoring the case.

“We do not know the purpose of the appearance or the likelihood of new charges,” Sekulow told. “We want to dispel any rumors that his current apostasy charge, for which he was sentenced to death, has been removed. Until the regime unconditionally exonerates and releases Pastor Youcef, his apostasy charge stands.”

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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.


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Iran’s Solution to Religious Rights: Harassment & Death