Four Christians in Iran will get 80 lashes each for drinking wine during a communion service and possessing a satellite antenna. The charges come as a United Nations report criticised the Islamic republic for persecuting non-Muslims. Behzad Taalipasand, Mehdi Reza Omidi (Youhan), Mehdi Dadkhah (Danial) and Amir Hatemi (Youhanna) were arrested during in a house church in December. Taalipasand and Omidi were detained during the Iranian government’s crackdown on house churches according to the Christian Solidarity Worldwide.

The men were sentenced on October 6 and given their verdict on October 20 with ten days to appeal the sentence after breaking the theocracy’s laws.

Mervyn Thomas, Chief Executive of Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), said: ‘The sentences handed down to these members of the Church of Iran effectively criminalise the Christian sacrament of sharing in the Lord’s Supper and constitute an unacceptable infringement on the right to practice faith freely and peaceably.

‘We urge the Iranian authorities to ensure that the nation’s legal practices and procedures do not contradict its international obligation under the International Convent on Civil and Political Rights to guarantee the full enjoyment of freedom of religion or belief by all of its religious communities.’

The death penalty is among the punishments for those who convert from Islam to Christianity.

Ahmed Shaheed, UN special rapporteur on human rights in Iran, said that it is common practice for Christians to be punished for violating theocratic laws, despite promises from president Hasan Rouhani’s to scale back the harsh treatment. see more

source: dailymail UK