Iran Pastor Facing Death for 'Crimes against God'
A pastor in Iran has been arrested and imprisoned after security forces raided his home and confiscated Christian paraphernalia.
According to Christian Solidarity Worldwide, Pastor Matthias Haghnejad was arrested on July 5 for "Moharebeh," or "crimes against God," and faces the punishment of death.
"These charges constitute a worrying escalation of Iran's campaign against Christians, adding a sinister new component to the regime's appalling litany of religious freedom violations," CSW's Chief Executive Mervyn Thomas said.
"The fact that Iran continues to commit severe human rights violations, including executions without due process and on vague charges, while simultaneously seeking improved relations with other nations, is a matter of utmost concern," Thomas continued.
"The international community must insist on discernible and consistent improvements in human rights, and on the upholding of rights stipulated in international covenants to which Iran is party, as benchmarks for improving bilateral and multilateral relations," he said.
The 2013 Islamic Penal Code prohibits the death sentence for Moharabeh.
However, under President Hassan Rouhani's administration eight men have already been executed for "Moharebeh" this year, including cultural rights activists Hashem Shaabani and Hadi Rashedi.
Others accused of this crime report they were tortured to force false confessions, denied legal help, and given unfair trials without any witnesses.