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2014-03-05

ASIA/IRAN - A Christian Pastor released on bail

Tehran (Agenzia Fides) - The Armenian-Iranian Christian Pastor Sevada Aghasar, was released on bail after spending six months in prison in Evin. The pastor was arrested on August 21, 2013 with two laymen, Masoud Mirzaei and Ebrahim Firouzi, who converted to Christianity from Islam. The police arrested them without a warrant or an official reason but, as suggested by "Mohabat News" a website which gives information regarding Iranian Christians in the diaspora, the reason seems to be linked to its online contact with several Christians of Farsi (Persian) language, and the suspicion of proselytism. In fact, the authorities do not take kindly to the diffusion of Christian worship in the Persian language (considered a danger to Islam), but tolerate it in the Armenian language or in other languages. Of the two lay people arrested with him, Masoud Mirzaei has been released, while Ebrahim Firouzi was sentenced to one year in prison and two years of exile in the remote town of Sarbaz for "propaganda against the Islamic regime". Such "propaganda" is substantiated with having started "groups of evangelization", having contacted "agents contrary to the Islamic revolution outside the country" and of having launched a Christian website. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 05/03/2014)

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