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Converts in Iran face execution

11 September 2008

by Bill Bowder

TWO Christian converts in prison in Iran face possible execution after being charged with apostasy at the Public and Revolutionary Court in Shiraz, Iran, last week.

The prosecution lawyer supports an interpretation of sharia that advocates death as the penalty for apostasy, a spokesman for Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) said on Tuesday.

“Mahmoud Matiniazad and Arash Basirat were arrested on 15 May in Shiraz city at around 4 p.m. Mahmoud is the pastor of a house church. They are both converts from Islam,” the CSW spokesman, who did not want to be named, said.

Another Christian, Ramtin Soodmand, is also being held without charge. He is the son of Hossein Soodmand, the last Christian convert to be hanged for apostasy in 1990.

“No charges have been brought against him yet, and he is not a Muslim apostate, as he was born into a Christian family,” the spokesman said. “CSW believes that he is in detention, and faces charges, on the basis of his involvement with Christian activities.”

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