Bookseller jailed in Iran for selling a Bible
A Kurdish bookseller will spend months in prison in Iran for selling a Bible in the Farsi language, according to reports.
Mustafa Rahimi, who was seized by government security agents, was fined and given the prison sentence on 11 June and then bailed, only to be summoned to jail a few days later.
Reports varied as to whether Rahimi was sentenced to six months and one day or three months and one day.
The bookseller’s family reportedly said he was jailed for selling the Bible by the Islamic Revolutionary Court in the city of Bukan.
Bukan is in the far north-west of Iran, close to the border with Iraq, and about 100 miles south of Tabriz, where an Assyrian church was recently sealed by government agents.
The Iranian authorities have a long history of attempting to block the distribution of the Bible, especially if it is in the Farsi language. Although the Iranian authorities permit historic Assyrian and Armenian Christian minorities to meet together for worship, converts from Islam, who worship in the national language Farsi, are persecuted.
Security forces confiscate Bibles and Christian literature, including hymn books; and the government forcibly closed the Bible Society in 1990.
In November 2010, 300 Farsi New Testaments were reportedly seized in a bus at the Iranian border and burned, and in August 2011, the authorities announced they had seized 6,500 Bibles between Zanjan and Abhar in the same north-west region as Bukan.