An Iranian pastor has been arrested for "Moharebeh," which means enmity against God, a crime that can be punishable by death.
According to Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), Pastor Matthias Haghnejad was arrested July 5, after Iranian security forces raided his home in Karaj and confiscated Bibles, pamphlets and his personal computer.
"We urge the Government of Iran to end its harassment of Pastor Matthias, said CSW's Chief Executive Mervyn Thomas. “Levelling a charge of warring against God against a man whose role and calling precludes violence and emphasizes service and obedience to God is unjustifiable, implausible and tantamount to an indictment of Christianity itself.”
Christian Today reports the 2013 Islamic Penal Code prohibits the death sentence for Moharebeh unless a weapon is used to commit a crime, however, officials have previously executed eight men for Moharebeh, including a poet and a cultural rights activist.
“These charges constitute a worrying escalation of Iran's campaign against Christians, adding a sinister new component to the regime's appalling litany of religious freedom violations,” said Thomas. “The fact that Iran continues to commit severe human rights violations, including executions without due process and on vague charges, while simultaneously seeking improved relations with other nations, is a matter of utmost concern. The international community must insist on discernible and consistent improvements in human rights, and on the upholding of rights stipulated in international covenants to which Iran is party, as benchmarks for improving bilateral and multilateral relations."
Publication date: August 8, 2014