A Christian man in Iran was sentenced by a judge to have his lips burned by a cigarette after he was found eating during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
Ramadan is a time when Muslims around the world fast from sunrise to sunset for the period of a month, but even according to Islamic law the fast doesn't apply to non-Muslims, in most cases.
The horrific punishment was carried out on a public square in the city of Kermanshah in front of a large crowd of people who turned out to watch the barbaric display of Iran's version of justice.
The city's deputy governor, Ali Ashraf Karami, confirmed that five other Muslim men were given 70 lashes at the same time as the lip burning, also for not fasting on Ramadan. Interesting that the Muslim men received a lesser punishment than the Christian man, even though he had no obligation under religious law to fast during Ramadan.
The National Council of Resistance of Iran, a political coalition which opposes the government, denounced the treatment as 'savage' and called on the west to take action. A spokesperson for the Council said in a statement:
"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. This will ultimately embolden the Iranian regime to continue its nuclear projects more than before."Iran has already come under some serious criticism from the UN for their open persecution of Christians in a report which was published in March. The report noted that Iran continuously persecutes and falsely imprisons Christians, simply because of their faith, claiming they are "threats to national security."
As of January 2014, the UN said that at least 49 Christians were in prison in Iran, as part of 307 members of religious minorities held by the regime.
The UN is not the only body to have condemned the Islamic regime. The Brussels-based organization, Human Rights Without Frontiers (HRWF), named Iran as one of five countries with the largest number of "freedom of religion or belief prisoners."
Sadly, all of Iran's 250,000 Christian residents face the prospect of torture, imprisonment and the death sentence under Sharia law for not observing Islamic religious festivals and dress codes.