By BosNewsLife Middle East Service
TEHRAN, IRAN (BosNewsLife)– A devoted Iranian Christian has been transferred to a ward of Tehran’s notorious Evin prison to serve a three-year sentence for evangelism and related charges, Iranian Christians told BosNewsLife Saturday, December 7.
Rasoul Abdollahi, who converted to Christianity, was reportedly accused of “collusion against the government and evangelism” following a crackdown by security forces on Christian groups.
“On Monday, December 2, he was transferred to ward 350 of Evin prison to serve his sentence,” said Mohabat News, an agency of well-informed Iranian activists and Christians, in a statement to BosNewsLife.
Abdollahi was earlier detained during what Christians described as “an organized raid” on a Christmas gathering of local believers on December 26, 2010 in Tehran, the capital.
The 2010 raid also resulted in the detention of prominent Iranian Christian Farshid Fathi, who fellow believers said was held without official charges for some 15 months and then sentenced to six years in prison.
He is currently serving his sentence in the same ward as Abdollahi, according to Christians with close knowledge about their situation.
Rights activists have also expressed concerns about the reported detention of two Christian Internet writers and activists, identified as Kiavosh Sotoudeh and Jamshid Jabbari.
They were reportedly detained by Iranian security forces on December 4 in front of Kerman University and taken to an unknown location. No more detains about their whereabouts were immediately available Saturday, December 7.
Mohabat News said the two Internet activists are believed to have ties with the growing house churches and evangelistic groups in Iran.
Iranian authorities have reportedly identified as many as 16 Internet activists who they claim are dangerous and in contact with “foreign agents”
State-run media said several Internet activists have been accused of “cyber-crimes, desecrating Islamic holy figures, and contact with foreigners”.
Iranian Christians also said they are concerned about reports of an “escalation in the arrest of reporters, religious dissidents, students and political activists.”
It comes at a time of concern within Iran’s leadership about the spread of Christianity in the strict Islamic nation.
Iran has at least 100,000 evangelical Christians, many of them former Muslims, according to conservative estimates by mission and church groups.