By Staff Writer, Iran Probe
Saturday, 14 May 2016
On the morning of Friday, May 13th security forces raided a house church in the city of Rasht (northern Iran) and arrested three members of the “Iran Church.”
According to the Hrana news agency citing Radio Zamaneh, Yousef Nadarkhani and his wife, Fateme (Tina) Pasandide, along with a member of this church by the name of Yaser Mosibzadeh, were all arrested by security entities on Friday morning.
Each of the three individuals arrested had prior to this been detained by security forces for short and long periods.
Yousef Nadarkhani was arrested back in October 2009 on charges of apostasy and behind bars until September 2012. Nadarkhani was a priest of a Christian community in Rasht named the “Iran Church.” His file was referred to Ruling Implementation Bureau in March 2012 to have his death sentence carried out on apostasy charges. This ruling was revoked that same year and he was released from jail.
Fateme Pasandide, the wife of Yousef Nadarkhani, had prior to this been convicted to life in jail. She was acquitted of all charges in October 2010 and released from Lakan Prison in Rasht.
There are no exact number of Christian converts in Iran. However, the “Open Doors” international organization, providing information on oppressed Christians across the globe, says around half of Iran’s Christian community are converts and they are living under constant threats.
In the past three decades the Islamic Republic has time and again been condoned by international and human rights organizations on human rights violations against Christian converts and other religious minorities. However, the Iranian regime has continuously denied these charges.