Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Iran – House church raided; Elderly couple beaten to death

An Iranian Christian couple in their 60s have died from injuries sustained when secret police raided a house church service hosted at their house and severely beat them. Compass reported in August that the Police beat and arrested Amiri on July 17, along with seven other men, six women and two minors who were attending the service. Amiri died in a hospital on July 30 from injuries sustained from the beating while his wife Sakineh Rahnama, died on Sunday (Aug. 3) from stress-related causes.
Citing the Farsi Christian News Network (FCNN), Compass reported that violence against Amiri was reportedly intensified when the policemen discovered that he had taken a pilgrimage to Mecca, one of the five pillars of Islam required of all devout Muslims, before he had become a Christian. He was also a veteran of the Iran-Iraq War, a strong source of Iranian national pride, so his conversion further infuriated police, according to FCNN. All those arrested at the house meeting are reportedly still in custody, including Amiri’s daughter and the two minors.
Arrests and violence against Iranian Christians have intensified in recent weeks. Twelve Christians traveling to Armenia via Tehran were arrested on July 12 at the Kerman airport in south-central Iran. In February the Iranian parliament proposed a draft penal code that demands the death penalty for leaving Islam. Under current Iranian law, “apostasy” is considered a capital offense, but punishment is left to the discretion of the judge. The draft penal code is scheduled to be reviewed in the next parliamentary session. http://www.onenewsnow.com/Persecution/Default.aspx?id=205546

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