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Iran: Christian Sentenced to Flogging and Prison

Persecution of Christians in Iran: the laws in Iran that grant some limited freedoms to the Christians are generally not considered applicable to converts from Islam to Christianity, who are all too often considered enemies of the state. The U.S. State Department has classified Iran as a “country of particular concern” for “having engaged in or tolerated particularly severe violations of religious freedom.”

The Order of Saint Andrew the Apostle, Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, requests that the government of Iran grant full religious freedom to all of its citizens, not interfering with their freedom of worship in any way, and immediately free Mari Mohammadi.

For previous coverage of Iran, see here.

“Iranian Christian Sentenced to Flogging and Prison,” International Christian Concern, April 22, 2020:

04/22/2020 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that on April 21, 2020, Christian human rights activist Mary Fatima Mohammadi received a suspended prison sentence of three months by the Iranian government. The sentence included a directive ordering Mary to receive a flogging of 10 lashes.

Mary has come under significant pressure from the Iranian authorities over the years because of her Christian human rights activism. In the latest incident, she was arrested because she was present in the area of a protest where Iranians had rallied regarding the government’s downing of Ukrainian Airline Flight 752. The issue of the government’s complicity in targeting the passenger flight remains highly sensitive in Iran. Mary further explained this connection on Instagram, saying that her sentence is a consequence of “protesting against the slaughter of human beings; because of showing sympathy for the families of those who perished on the Ukraine airline crash; because of defending the rights of all humans.”

After her arrest, Mary disappeared for nearly a month before she was discovered in Qarchak Women’s Prison, a jail with a reputation for various types of gender abuse. While there, Mary reported that she was beaten and suffered other kinds of mistreatment at the hands of the officials, including being strip-searched twice. She was eventually released on a bail of 30 million tomans ($2,250 USD) and charged with “disrupting public order by participating in an illegal rally.”

Her court hearing was initially delayed because of COVID-19, but took place on April 17. Iran’s Human Rights Activist News Agency (HANA) reports that during the hearing, the judge repeatedly questioned Mary about her conversion to Christianity. Her case was heard in Branch 6 of the 33rd District Court of Evin before being transferred to Branch 1167 of the Tehran Provincial Criminal Court (Quds Judicial Complex).

Following her sentencing, Mary tweeted: “There is no evidence against me, so I ought to have been acquitted. But instead I was sentenced not only to imprisonment, but also flogging. It should be mentioned that even before the verdict was handed down, I was forced to endure all kinds of torture, none of which was sanctioned by law, and which ought to be considered crimes in themselves. We have refrained from appealing against the verdict because the appeal courts have turned into confirmation courts! I am proud of sympathizing with human beings in the real harsh environment of the streets. This is my conviction and the cost.”…

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