Ten Christian converts arrested (Iran)

Tehran, 28 May (AKI) – Ten Iranians who converted from Islam to Christianity in recent months have been arrested in the southern city of Shiraz.

According to Goodarz, a spokesperson for the Iranian converts, more than 35 of them have been arrested since the beginning of the year. Goodarz himself has taken refuge in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates.

The new Majlis or Iranian parliament which met for the first time on Tuesday will be discussing in the coming weeks proposed laws presented by the government to reform the penal code.

Under the new law, anyone born to a Muslim father who decides to renounce Islam and convert to another faith, faces the death penalty.

The punishment is currently absent from the Iranian penal code even though in the past, dozens of Christian converts and followers of the Bahai faith have been hanged.

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Cleric ‘calls all feminists whores and foreign spies’

Tehran, 27 May (AKI) – A top Iranian cleric from the northeast, Ayatollah Ahmad Elmalhoda, has reportedly called feminists “whores and foreign spies”.

“These whores, clutching a piece of paper in their hands to gather signatures, are working for foreign powers and want to destabilise the Islamic Republic,” said Elmalhoda.

He is the highly influential prayer leader in the northeastern holy Shia city of Mashad.

Elmalhoda has called on the government to “intervene decisively against these whores, because it is improper to leave them to act with impunity.”

A few weeks ago, Elmalhoda said women who do not wear the Islamic veil as instructed “turned men into animals.”

Verbal attacks against feminists in Iran are also being accompanied by a vast judicial offensive.

Eight feminists involved in a campaign to gather “a million signatures in favour of equality” were recently given jail terms of various lengths and sentenced to public floggings.

The Iranian authorities have in the last two weeks censured twelve websites close to the feminist movement.