Christians Sentenced To 80 Lashes Of The Whip – For Taking Holy Communion
Three Christian converts in Iran are appealing against a sentence of 80 lashes each – for the crime of receiving Holy Communion.
Yaser Mosibzadeh, Saheb Fadayee and Mohammad Reza Omidi were arrested last May.
All three men, along with their pastor Yousef Nadarkhani, were charged with acting against national security but the three lay Christians were also charged with consuming alcoholic communion wine. Last September they were sentenced to receive 80 lashes each and are now appealing against this, Open Doors reports.
They have also been warned by Iran's Revolutonary Guard against meeting together or attempting any kind of evangelism.
According to their lawyer, it should not be illegal for them to drink wine because they are Christians. Alcohol is only banned for Muslims in Iran.
However, problems arise when Iran refuses to recognise conversions and insists on treating new Christians as Muslims still.
Open Doors is appealing for prayers that the judge will overturn the sentence of 80 lashes and that Iran will start to recognise Christian converts.
Nadarkhani became an international symbol of the fight for religious freedom when he was first sentenced to death for apostasy, and then acquitted, then charged again with 'acting against national security'.
He was also accused of being a Zionist and told he was banned from evangelism.
Iranian security staff had raided their home among 10 other Christian homes they targeted in Rasht.