Iranian convert on hunger strike while imprisoned
International Christian Concern (ICC) reports that Ibrahim Firouzi, an Iranian Christian convert, was arrested on the 8th of February on charges of propaganda and blasphemy. Firouzi began a hunger strike a few days later on the 13th of February, saying he will not eat again until this latest round of charges against him are dropped.
Firouzi was imprisoned several times between 2013 and 2019. Following his incarceration, he was sent to a remote, southeastern city to serve a two-year internal exile sentence. In March 2020, authorities notified him that his sentence was extended for eleven months due to his absence, though he was previously informed to stop his daily check-ins.
While serving his internal exile sentence, Firouzi decided to speak up about the abuse and mistreatment both he and his family members had received. Several videos were released via a Switzerland-based activist that detailed the abuse he experienced from Iranian intelligence.
Only two days after the videos were released, he received a summons to respond to allegations of propaganda against Iran. When he appeared in court, he was arrested and detained in Chabahar prison.
Firouzi’s last charges in October 2020 were later dropped, though he remained a person of interest to the Iranian government. Authorities closely monitor the movement of Christians and house churches in the country, seeing Christianity as a threat to the state and Islam’s stability.