By BosNewsLife Middle East Service
TEHRAN, IRAN (BosNewsLife)– A prominent Iranian Christian musician was again behind bars Wednesday, May 7, after being released in December, while an evangelical house church official has been detained as part of a wider crackdown, Christians said.
Musician Shahin Lahouti, a convert to Christianity, was initially detained along with seven other Christians during a raid on a prayer meeting in October 2012.
He was sentenced to two and a half years in prison on what his supporters called “political charges”, but was freed on bail under condition he halted his Christian activities.
Rights activists said Lahouti’s bail was revoked and that he was returned to prison some three weeks ago following pressure from authorities
Additionally, Silas Rabbani, a deacon of the Church of Iran congregation in Karaj city was reportedly detained Monday May 5.
Christians said three intelligence agents “arrested him at his home at 11pm and informed his family that more arrests of Christians would follow soon.”
Advocacy group Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) said in a reaction that it was concerned about the latest detention of Christians in the heavily Islamic nation.
“We are deeply concerned that Mr. Lahouti has been returned to prison. His initial conviction and sentencing were unjust and traumatic for him, his bail conditions were unacceptable, and his re-imprisonment compounds this injustice,” said CSW’s Chief Operating Officer Andy Dipper.
“It is also disturbing to hear of the arrest of Mr. Rabbani and of the threat of additional arrests by the security services,” he told BosNewsLife in a statement.
“We urge the government of Iran to halt its harassment and imprisonment of religious minorities and to uphold freedom of religion or belief, as outlined in covenants to which Iran is party,” Dipper said.
Iran has in the past defended its actions, saying those targeted are a threat to national security and
have ties to foreign groups.
Critics have accused Iranian authorities of fearing the spread of Christianity in the country where at least 100,000 devoted Christians are living between Muslims.
(BosNewsLife (2004-2014) is the first truly independent news agency covering persecuted Christians. It has been ‘Breaking the News for Compassionate Professionals’ since May 2004).
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