Iran imprisons bookshop owner for selling Bible as crackdown on Christianity continues
Reports have indicated that Mustafa Rahimi, a bookseller from the Kurdish town of Bukan, was sentenced by the Bukan Public Revolutionary Court to months in prison on charges of selling the Bible.
However, reports are conflicting as to how long Rahimi has been sentenced for.
Rahimi ran a bookstore in the National Bank alley in Bukan, which lies in Iran’s West Azerbaijan Province near the border with Iraq, the Iranian Christian news agency Mohabat News reports.
Rahimi was arrested and jailed by intelligence officers in mid-June and ordered to pay a hefty fine. He was temporarily freed after paying bail.
The Kurdish human rights group Hengaw Organization for Human Rights reported that Rahimi was re-arrested in mid-August and sentenced to three months and one day in prison on Aug. 28.
However, sources close to Rahimi’s family told Mohabat News that he was sentenced to six months and one day in prison by the revolutionary court.
Rahimi’s arrest comes as there has been a growth of Christianity in the Shia nation and as the oppressive regime has prohibited the selling and publishing of Christian literature.
The news of Rahimi’s sentencing follows a string of crackdowns against Christians in the Islamic Republic.
In July, 65-year-old Christian convert Mahrokh Kanbari was sentenced to one year in prison on charges of “acting against national security.” She was also accused of engaging in “propaganda against the system.”
Kanbari was arrested last winter when three security agents searched her home and confiscated Bibles and other Christian-related material. Her arrest and imprisonment were condemned by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence.
“I am appalled to hear reports that Iran’s despotic rulers have punished yet another Christian woman for exercising her freedom to worship,” Pence wrote in a tweet. “Iran must free Mahrokh Kanbari today. Whether Sunni, Sufi, Baha’i, Jewish or Christian, America will stand up for people of faith in Iran like Marokh and Pastor Bet Tamraz whose persecutions are an affront to religious freedom.”
Also in July, Iranian intelligence officials raided the homes of eight Christian converts in the southern city of Bushehr and charged them with “actions against national security” and claimed that their participation in a house church constituted “membership in an illegal organization.”
Read more at: Christian Post
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