An Iranian judge sentenced a Christian man to have his lips burnt with a cigarette for eating during the day in the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, The Daily Mail reported.
Five other Muslim men were also flogged in public with 70 lashes for not fasting during Ramadan, the city’s deputy governor Ali Ashraf Karami said.
A spokesperson from The National Council of Resistance of Iran, a political coalition which opposes the government, denounced the treatment as “savage” and called on western countries to take action.
“The silence of the world community, especially of western countries, vis-à-vis these medieval punishments under the excuse of having nuclear talks with Iran has intensified the brutal and systematic violation of human rights in Iran,” said the council, according to the Daily Mail.
“This will ultimately embolden the Iranian regime to continue its nuclear projects more than before,” it added.
Earlier this year the UN blasted Iran for the persecution of Christians in a report laid bare to the world in March.
The detailed report found that Iran has continued to imprison Christians for their faith and designated house churches and evangelical Christians as “threats to national security.”
At least 49 Christians were among 307 religious minorities being held in Iranian jails as of January 2014, noted the UN, which also criticized the regime for its hostility to Jews, Baha’is, Zoroastrians and Dervish Muslims.
In 2012, Iranian police arrested between 100 and 400 Christians and thrown them into prisons on charges of “creating illegal groups”, “participating in a house church service”, “propagation against the Islamic regime” and “defaming Islamic holy figures through Christian evangelizing.”
In 2013, an Iranian convert from Islam to Christianity was sentenced to a decade in prison for proselytizing. He was officially charged with “crimes against state security.”
There are an estimated 250,000 Christians in Iran’s 76 million strong population.
They all face torture, imprisonment or the death sentence under Sharia law for not observing Islamic religious festivals and dress codes.
Christians are facing trouble in other parts of the Middle East as well. In Egypt, Coptic Christians have been targeted by violence from the Muslim Brotherhood, while in Syria, Al-Qaeda linked rebels have threatened to kill Christians who do not join the fight against President Bashar Al-Assad.
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