Persecution of Christian Converts Continues under Rouhani

Persecution of Christian Converts Continues under Rouhani

Published by on January 6, 2016

Despite President Hassan Rouhani’s pledges during his election campaign in 2013 that “All ethnicities, all religions, even religious minorities, must feel justice,” the targeting of Christian converts for state persecution and prosecution has continued unabated under his administration.

Most recently, two days before Christmas, officials from the Administration’s Intelligence Ministry arrested a Christian convert in Isfahan, according to the Alliance of Iranian Churches known as Hamgam, carting him and an assortment of his personal belongings off to an undisclosed location.

The arrest of leaders of minority faiths in Iran, especially those that engage in proselytizing, and the systematic discrimination of members of such faith in all walks of life, have led the UN Secretary-General and the UN Special Rapporteur for Iran to consistently cite the denial of freedom of religion as a major human rights violation in Iran.

“Agents of the Intelligence Ministry in Isfahan entered the home of Meysam Hojati on December 23, 2015, scolded him in front of his parents, slapped him on the face, searched his home and took personal belongings including his computer, phone, Holy Book and Christian pamphlets,” Mansour Borji, a spokesperson for the Alliance told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran.

“They took him away handcuffed and blindfolded. The agents even took the Christmas tree. That’s really strange. Why would they care about a Christmas tree?” he added.
Borji, who lives in the UK, told the Campaign that since Hojati’s arrest, his family has been unable to establish where he is being held.

Hojati was previously arrested in March 2012 along with a group of other Christian converts in Isfahan and accused of proselytizing in home-based churches, the spokesperson for the Alliance of Iranian Churches said.

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Dear Secretary General of United Nations,

The number of executions is rising in Iran, journalists are being detained for doing their job and activists face cruel and degrading punishments, long prison terms and even execution. According to the most recent reports by Amnesty International and the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, “Iran’s judiciary continues to sentence child offenders to death, and carry out their execution by hanging”. Also, on August 9th, 2016 the son of late Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, Khomeini’s designated successor in 1988, published a shocking audio tape of his father’s meeting with the “Death Commission” which summarily and extra-judicially executed tens of thousands of political prisoners held in jails across Iran. The massacre was carried out on the basis of a fatwa by the regime’s then-Supreme Leader Khomeini.

We, the undersigned, hereby urge you to take up this issue and raise it in the General Assembly in order to;

1. Put pressure on Iran to immediately halt the executions and abolish death penalty in Iran.
2. Call on all Western governments to make any improvement in economic relations with Iran contingent on its human rights record.
3. Demand in its resolution on human rights violations in Iran, to bring the perpetrators of 1988 massacre (one of the worst atrocities the post-war world has ever seen – Geoffrey Robertson-QC) to justice before an international tribunal.

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