Five more Iranians go on trial for converting

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Since it's inception the Islamic regime in Iran has been persecuting, imprisoning and executing Muslims who become followers of Jesus.

Five Iranian Christian converts who were detained late last year will reportedly begin trial in Iran’s Revolutionary Court this week, according to a human rights group following the case.

The five men were among seven arrested in October when security forces raided an underground house church in the city of Shiraz during a prayer session. They will be tried at the Revolutionary Court in Shiraz’s Fars Province on charges of disturbing public order, evangelizing, threatening national security and engaging in Internet activity that threatens the government, according to Christian Solidarity Worldwide, a religious persecution watchdog group.

The five imprisoned men, Mohammad Roghangir, Surush Saraie, Eskandar Rezaie, Shahin Lahooti and Massoud Rezaie are members of the Church of Iran denomination, one of the country's largest house church movements.

Under Shariah, or Islamic law, a Muslim who converts to Christianity is on a par with someone waging war against Islam. Death sentences for such individuals are prescribed by fatwas, or legal decrees, and reinforced by Iran’s Constitution, which allows judges to rely on fatwas for determining charges and sentencing on crimes not addressed in the Iranian penal code.

All religious minorities in Iran, including Bahais, Zoroastrians, Jews and Christians, have faced various forms of persecution and political and social marginalization throughout the regime’s 30-year reign. But the government saves its harshest retribution for those who have abandoned Islam.

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UPDATE

Protesters burned a flag belonging to the Libyan Embassy in Cairo on Monday to protest the death in prison of an Egyptian Christian suspected of proselytizing in Libya.

The Egyptian Foreign Ministry said that Ezzat Atallah likely died of natural causes. He suffered from diabetes and a heart ailment.

Four foreigners are still in prison in Libya for alleged espionage and proselytizing. They are a Swedish-American, a South Korean, a South African and an Egyptian.

Last week, Egypt's Foreign Ministry intervened to win release from Libya of 55 Egyptians also suspected of trying to spread Christianity in the predominantly Muslim nation.