A Christian convert imprisoned in Iran has received 80 lashes for drinking communion wine.
According to The Christian Post, Zaman Fadaee, who goes by the name Saheb, received the lashings Sunday as part of a 2016 conviction for drinking wine during a communion service.
Fadaee is serving a six-year sentence, Article 18, a London-based nonprofit reported. Article 18 works to expose abuses against Christians in Iran.
In Iran, Muslims are now allowed to drink alcohol except religious minority groups, but Iran does not recognize former Muslim converts as Christians.
Fadaee was arrested with Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani and four other members of Yousef’s church in May 2016. In September, Fadaee and two other converts were sentenced to 80 lashes for drinking communion wine.
In October, Youhan Omidi received his lashes.
“Deeply disturbed by reports Iran lashed Mohammad Reza Omidi 80 times for drinking communion wine,” State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus wrote on Twitter 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.”
Fadaee is serving his six-year sentence in Tehran’s Evin Prison for organizing house churches and “promoting ‘Zionist’ Christianity.”
The men were originally ordered to 10 years in prison, but during a retrial, the sentences were reduced.
Omidi’s sentence was reduced to two years and he was released in August.
Another man, Yasser Mossayebzadeh is also expected to receive 80 lashes.
“It had been assumed that both Saheb and Yasser would be flogged after their release from prison, as happened in Youhan’s case,” the Article 18 report states. “However, Saheb was summoned to the Shahid Moghadas Revolutionary Court next to Evin Prison yesterday, and told his sentence must be carried out then and there.”
Open Doors reports that at least 169 Christians have been arrested in Iran from Nov. 1, 2018 to Oct. 31, 2019.
Photo courtesy: Pixabay
Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for ChristianHeadlines.com since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and IBelieve.com. She blogs at The Migraine Runner.