Continued Arrests of Iranian Christians
A Christian human rights agency has received reports that Abdolreza “Matthias” Haghnejad, a pastor in the evangelical Church of Iran denomination has again been arrested. The arrest by Iranian authorities in Rasht occurred on Aug. 17 while Haghnejad was making a pastoral visit. According to a news release from Christian Solidarity Worldwide, Haghnejad's family has no idea of his current location, or the charges against him. It is believed he is being held without access to an attorney. Earlier this year, the pastor was detained and charged, then acquitted, along with ten other members of his denomination, of activities against the (Iranian) order. He was also arrested in 2006. CSW said Haghnejad's re-arrest occurred amidst reports of another escalation in governmental pressure on Christians. CSW said in August a consignment of 6,500 Bibles was confiscated while being transported between the cities of Zanjan and Ahbar in the north-western province of Zanjan. Commenting on the seizure, Dr. Majid Abhari, advisor to the social issues committee of the Iranian parliament, said that Christian missionaries were attempting to deceive people, especially the youth, with an expensive propaganda campaign.