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Two Iranian Christian Converts Could Face Death


Reports from Iran say that two Christian converts have been charged with apostasy. The two were reportedly detained in May in a park in the city of Shiraz, and according to Christian groups, Mahmud Matin Azad and Arash Basirat have been held in solitary confinement since then.

A member of an Iranian Christian group based in Dubai, who because of the sensitivity of the issue didn't want to be named, tells Radio Farda that he is concerned the two could face the death penalty.

A member of the Tehran-based Center of Human Rights Defenders, Mohammad Seyfzadeh, tells Radio Farda that charging individuals with apostasy is a clear violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

In recent months, pressure on Christian converts has been growing in the Islamic republic. A Korean priest who traveled to Iran about two weeks ago tells Radio Farda he believes the reason is that the number of Christian converts is growing and that the Iranian government wants to prevent more people from joining the Christian faith.

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"Watchdog" is a blog with a singular mission -- to monitor the latest developments concerning human rights, civil society, and press freedom. We'll pay particular attention to reports concerning countries in RFE/RL's broadcast region.

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