Two Evangelical Christians caught in a government crackdown on house churches were allegedly punished with 80 lashes last week for drinking communion wine, according to Christian and human rights activists.
Behzad Taalipasand and Mehdi Dadkhah (Danial) were arrested with Mehdi Reza Omidi’s (Youhan) and Amir Hatemi (Youhanna) last December while taking part in a Christian service at the Church of Iran, a community of house churches, according to Christian Solidarity Worldwide. Taalipasand and Dadkhah received their punishment Oct. 30 while Omidi’s sentence was expected to be carried out Sunday. It was not immediately clear if Hatemi will receive the same punishment, Christian news agency BosNewsLife reports.
The incident comes on the heels of a United Nations report raising concern over human rights abuses in Iran, including the persecution of minority religious groups.