Iran Christian Convert: ‘15 Christians Detained for Faith’

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

By Stefan J. Bos, Special Correspondent Worthy News

(Worthy News) - An Iranian Christian rights activist who was jailed for protesting against Iran’s Islamic government says more than a dozen Christians remain behind bars in the country’s overcrowded prisons.

Mary Mohammadi told the Persian service of U.S. broadcaster Voice of America (VOA) that at least 15 Christians are detained despite the many coronavirus cases in Iran’s prison system.

The Christian woman’s 46-day detention earlier this year was condemned by U.S. President Donald Trump amid broader concerns about the treatment of minority Christians in Iran.

Iranian authorities detained Mohammadi in Tehran, the capital, on January 12, after she joined rallies against the Iranian security forces’ downing of a Ukrainian passenger plane four days earlier.

Iran said its forces mistook the aircraft, carrying mostly Iranian nationals as an enemy threat.

“After suffering many types of torture and 46 days in jail in the terrible conditions of Vozara detention and Qarchak [women’s] Prison, I have been sentenced to 3 months and 1 day in prison and 10 lashes,” Mohammadi wrote on social media earlier this year.


Mohammadi also claimed that she had been sentenced because of protesting “against the slaughter of human beings” and because she had shown “sympathy for the families of those who perished on the Ukraine airline crash.”

She added that her sentence had been suspended for one year, depending on her conduct. And Mohammadi stressed that there was never any evidence against her.

Iranian Christian rights group Article 18 has described her as a rare voice for persecuted Christians inside Iran.

The U.S. State Department’s 2019 report on religious freedom in Iran, released June 10, cited several rights groups including Article 18 that at least 17 Iranian Christians were jailed on charges linked to their faith by late last year.

Mohammadi, who is in her 20s, has also come under pressure for converting from Islam to Christianity. Iranian officials have expressed concern about the spread of Christianity.


“Iranian society is governed by Islamic law, which means the rights of and professional possibilities for Christians are heavily restricted. Converts from Islam face persecution from the government,” explained advocacy group Open Doors on a recent assessment.

“If Christians attend an underground house church, they face the constant threat of arrest.”

Iran ranks 9 on the Open Doors’ annual World Watch List of 50 nations where it claims Christians face the worst persecution.

Despite the difficulties, there are at least 800,000 Christians among Iran’s roughly 85 million people, according to activists.

Many of them are former Muslims attending underground houses churches, Worthy News learned.