Reuters: An Iranian Baha’i missionary has been arrested in northern Iran for allegedly having an “illicit sexual relationship”, the semi-official Fars news agency said on Monday without giving a source.
TEHRAN (Reuters) – An Iranian Baha’i missionary has been arrested in northern Iran for allegedly having an “illicit sexual relationship”, the semi-official Fars news agency said on Monday without giving a source.
The man, identified by Fars only as P.P., is accused of seducing women to have illicit sexual relationships with him, the agency said, a punishable offence in Iran which implements strict sharia, Islamic law.
“The man is an active Baha’i missionary … His case is being investigated by the judiciary,” it said. Judicial officials were not available to comment.
The Baha’i faith was founded in Iran in the 19th century and activists say more than 300,000 adherents live in Iran today. Iran’s Shi’ite government considers the faith a heretical offshoot of Islam.
Exiled Bahai leaders say hundreds of followers have been jailed and executed since the 1979 Islamic revolution. The Iranian government denies it has detained or executed people for their religion.
Baha’i activists said in August that an Iranian court had sentenced seven leaders of the faith, five men and two women, to 20 years in prison after charging them with espionage and engaging in propaganda against Islam.
Iranian media reported in January that the seven, arrested in 2008, had gone on trial on charges of spying and collaborating with Israel, an enemy of the Islamic Republic.
The international Bahai community denied the charges.
(Writing by Parisa Hafezi, Editing by Matthew Jones)