Iranian Christians given 80 lashes

wine glass and grapes

Two Iranian Christians were given 80 lashes last Wednesday for drinking wine during a communion service.

Behzad Taalipasand and Mehdi Dadkhah were two of four Christians handed the sentence, along with Mehdi Reza Omidi and Amir Hatemi, who it is believed have not yet been punished.

The ecumenical charity Christian Solidarity Worldwide said sources told them that Behzad Taalipasand was whipped “with extreme violence”.

The group was charged with drinking alcohol and possession of a receiver and satellite antenna, and were given 10 days in which to appeal.

CSW noted that the men received the written verdict on 20 October, although it was dated 6 October, and it remains unclear whether their appeals were rejected, or whether the delay in receiving the verdict meant they ran out of time.

Behzad Taalipasand and Mehdi Reza Omidi were detained on 31 December 2012 during a crackdown on house churches by the Iranian Government.

Mervyn Thomas, Chief Executive of Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), said: “This appalling and unjust infringement on the right to manifest one’s faith in practice, worship and observance has occurred despite Iran’s obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) to uphold freedom of religion or belief for all of its religious communities.”

He added: “We urge the Iranian Government to bring the nation’s legal practices and procedures in line with its international undertakings and to release these men without delay or further punishment.”


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