Originally published in The Christian Post
An Iranian Christian convert, who is serving a six-year prison sentence, has received 80 lashes for drinking communion wine. He is the second convert to receive such a punishment in just over a month.
Article 18, a London-based nonprofit that exposes abuses against Christians in Muslim-majority Iran, reports that Zaman Fadaee (who goes by the name Saheb) was flogged on Sunday in connection to a 2016 conviction for drinking wine as part of communion.
In Iran, it is illegal for Muslims to drink alcohol but the practice is permitted for religious minorities. However, advocates warn that Iran does not recognize former Muslim converts as Christian.
Fadaee, a member of the Church of Iran, was arrested along with Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani and four other members of Nadarkhani’s Rasht-based church in May 2016. In September 2016, converts Fadaee, Yasser Mossayebzadeh and Youhan Omidi were sentenced to 80 lashes for drinking communion wine by a court in Rasht.
On October 14 Omidi received his 80 lashes about a month after he began a two-year term in exile in the city of Borazjan, about a 15-hour drive from his home in Rasht.
Fadaee is serving a six-year sentence in Tehran’s Evin Prison for the charge of organising house churches and “promoting ‘Zionist’ Christianity,” according to Article 18.