Monday, 6 April 2009

IMHRO condemning closing down of Assyrian Christian church by Revolutionary court order

Iranian Minorities’ Human Rights Organisation (IMHRO)



The Pentecostal church of Shahr Ara, which belongs to Assyrian Christians in the city of Tehran, has been closed by order of the revolutionary courts
[i]. The vicar, Mr. Victor, was forced to deliver the message of the churches closure to worshipers and church leaders were forced to prevent converted Muslims from attending services.

According to reports the main reason for this closure was stated as “illegal activities of this church with regard to converting Muslims into Christianity or accepting converts to worship.”

Reza Washahi a researcher on minorities in Iran told IMRO “In Iran conversion from Islam to Christianity is illegal and punishable with the death penalty and the charge of apostasy. Those who are not killed based on international campaigns always face death threats and the prospect of losing jobs and discrimination from society.”

“Often the Iranian government charges Christians with other offences such as drug smuggling, wine selling and acting against national security. They very rarely charge the person with apostasy directly so as to avoid international pressure” he added.

In recent years pressure on Christians in Iran has increased. President Ahmadi Nejad openly warned the evangelical movement of Iran with severe punishment. In 2008 a man reportedly a member of an Assembly of God church in north of Iran was secretly stoned to death.

IMHRO condemns the Iranian government’s treatment of its Christian citizens and wishes to remind the Iranian government of its obligation to fulfil its duty as a signatory to the Universal Declaration on Human Rights (UDHR) and also the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which guarantees the freedom of religion.

Back ground

The first post Islamic Revolution Iranian Christian murder was Rev. Arastoo Sayah martyred in February 1979

Hussein Soodmand of Mashad who was converted to Christianity was executed by hanging in 1990[iii].

Mehdi Dibaj was an Iranian
Christian convert from Sunni Islam, finally tried by an Islamic court in Sari on December 3, 1993 and sentenced to death on charges of apostasy. Following a worldwide outcry initiated by his friend and colleague Bishop Haik Hovsepian Mehr, Dibaj was finally freed in January 1994, although the death sentence was not lifted. Just three days later Bishop Haik Hovsepian Mehr was abducted and murdered. Dibaj was abducted on Friday, June 24, 1994. His body was found in a west Tehran park on Tuesday, July 5, 1994[iv].

On Jul 4, 1994 (Open Doors), a Christian human rights group, reported that Tateos Michaelian, an Iranian Presbyterian preacher who was acting chairman of the Council of Protestant Ministers in Iran, was murdered and accused the Iranian government of being responsible. Iran denies the charges. The group also reported that 2 other protestant preachers, whom it did not identify, had been detained and that Iranian Christians who had returned home after living in the US had disappeared on their return to Iran

In 2005 a lay-minister Ghorban Dordi Tourani also called Ghorban Tori was murdered and his case was never investigated.


Please write to one of the following and express your concern regard of Christian in Iran.

Secretary General United Nations

The Honourable Ban Ki-moon

United Nations Headquarters,
Room S-3800, New York,
NY 10017,USA

Supreme Leader of Iran

Ayatollah Sayed ‘Ali Khamenei,
The Office of the Supreme Leader
Islamic Republic Street - Shahid Keshvar Doust Street
Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
E-mail via web site

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

Ms. Navanethem (Navi) Pillay
Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights,

Palais des Nations, CH-1211 Geneva 10,

Iranian President
Mahmoud Ahmadi Nejad
The Presidency
Palestine Avenue, Azerbaijan Intersection
Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
E-mail via web site

European Parliament Human Rights Committee
Bureau d'Hélène Flautre au Parlement Européen,

8G130, rue Wierz,
B-1049, Bruxelles,

Head of the Judiciary

Ayatollah Mahmud Hashemi Shahroudi
Howzeh Riyasat-e Qoveh Qazaiyeh / Office of the Head of the Judiciary
Pasteur St, Vali Asr Ave
South of Serah-e Jomhouri,
Tehran 1316814737, Islamic Republic of Iran






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