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World News

Iranian Christian receives 80 lashes for drinking communion wine

An Iranian Christian imprisoned for his involvement in a house church has received 80 lashes for drinking communion wine. 

Zaman Fadaei, known as Saheb, was handed the punishment on 15th November, according to Middle East Concern, a few weeks after another Christian man got the same punishment. 

Christian religious freedom charity Open Doors say Christianity is seen as a Western threat in Iran and house churches are monitored frequently. 

In June 2017, three men - Saheb, Mohammad Reza Omidi (or Youhan) and pastor Yousef Nadarkhani - were handed ten-year prison sentences for “acting against the national security through propagating house churches and promoting Zionist Christianity".

They started serving the sentences in 2018, which were then reduced earlier this year - Saheb and Yousef’s terms were reduced to six years’ each, while the other man imprisoned at the same time was re-sentenced to two years.

Mohammad Reza Omidi received his lashes for the same crime back in October, prompting outrage from the US State Department spokeswoman, Morgan Ortagus.

"Deeply disturbed by reports Iran lashed Mohammad Reza Omidi 80 times for drinking communion wine," Orgagus wrote in a tweet at the time. "He already served two years in prison for belonging to a house church. We condemn these unjust punishments and urge Iran to allow all Iranians the freedom to practice their beliefs.”

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