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Ahmed Shahid: in the past two years, more than 300 Christians have been arbitrarily arrested and detained in Iran

Posted on: 23rd September, 2012
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HRANA News Agency – Two United Nations Special Rapporteurs have expressed in the past two years, more than 300 Christians have been arbitrarily arrested and detained in Iran.

According to a report by Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA),The Special Rapporteurs welcomed the recent release of Christian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, who had received the death sentence on a charge of apostasy. The experts highlighted however the arrest and detention of hundreds of Christians over the past two years and called on the Iranian authorities to “ease the current climate of fear in which many churches operate.”

The conviction of apostasy and death sentence for Pastor Nadarkhani – who was born to Muslim parents but converted to Christianity at the age of 19 – sparked strong condemnation from governments, organizations and religious leaders around the world. Earlier this month, Pastor Nadarkhani’s charge was reduced to “evangelizing Muslims,” and his sentence to three years, which he was credited with having already served.

“Iran possesses the basic legal framework to guarantee Christians, as a group, the right to freedom of religion, and should ensure that this right is granted in practice as well,” said Dr. Bielefeldt, who noted that “the right to conversion in this context is an inseparable part of freedom of religion or belief.”

He also called for the protection of Baha’is and other religious minorities who are not recognised in Iran’s Constitution.

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