Five Christians Tried for Blasphemy in Iran

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Five Christians imprisoned in the Iranian city of Shiraz are scheduled to be tried for blasphemy on Monday, according to Christian Solidarity Worldwide.

Pastor Behrouz Sadegh-Khandjani, Mehdi Furutan, Parviz Khalaj, Mohammed Beliad and his wife Nazly Makarian Beliad have already served one year in prison for "crimes against the Islamic Order."

The five believers, who are members of Church of Iran - the Islamic republic's largest house church movement-- would be sentenced to death if convicted.

"CSW is dismayed by the charges faced by the group" of Christians, said CSW's National Director Stuart Windsor."

"The international community must press Iran not only to rescind the unjust punishments to which these Christians have already been subjected, but also to acquit them at the upcoming trial," he told BosNewsLife.

The news comes weeks after Iran's government seized and burned 600 new testaments in the city of Salmas.

"This shameful act of burning the Christian New Testaments was a repetition of a similar action taken by the security forces of the Islamic Republic, on June 8, 2010, in one of the western towns of Sardasht, which was reported by media outlets loyal and in service of the Islamic Republic of Iran," Mohabat News said.

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