“Iran Detains Dozens Of Christian Converts As Rights Group Urge World To Intervene,” BosNewsLife, December 3, 2016:
TEHRAN, IRAN (BosNewsLife)– A group of 19 influential human rights groups have urged the United Nations and the international community to help protect Christian converts in Iran saying scores of believers were detained for leaving Islam. In a statement to BosNewsLife the activists said that the “Islamic Republic of Iran” has been “homing in on converts from a Muslim background”.
Between May and August 2016 security forces forces arrested at least 79 Christians, according to activists, family members and friends.
“The majority of those arrested were interrogated and detained for periods ranging from a few days to months.” the groups said.
“At the time of writing some of these 79 Christians remain in detention and have still not been formally charged.”
Rights groups say “the true number of Christians apprehended by the authorities could be notably higher” as “many” arrests would have gone unreported.
In 2012, Iran’s government began to bar converts from Muslim backgrounds from attending services in official churches. Instead Christian converts “are forced” to gather in informal groups known as “house churches”, the activists said. “These gatherings are considered illegal by authorities and are often raided. In August 2016 alone security agents allegedly raided at least four house churches and the house church members were arrested and interrogated.”