Iran: Christian woman begins jail term for leading evangelical church

Monday, April 25, 2022

by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent

(Worthy News) - Christian convert Fariba Dalir has begun a two-year prison sentence handed down to her by an Iranian court because she started an Evangelical Christian church in Iran, Article 18 reports.

Aged 51, Dalir was one of six newly Christian former Muslims who were arrested on 19 July 2021 because they belonged to a Christian church: Iranian authorities accused and charged the group with “acting against national security by establishing and leading an Evangelical Christian church,” Article 18 said.

Fariba was sentenced to two years imprisonment, while her husband Soroush and the other four believers were sentenced to 10 months in jail, Article 18 said. Both Fariba and Soroush spent some 50 days in solitary confinement in a detention center before Fariba was transferred to Qarchak women’s prison and Soroush to the Greater Tehran Penitentiary, where they were detained for two more months before being released on bail.

Fariba has now been transferred to Evin prison to serve out her two-year term.

In a website statement about the attitude of the Iranian regime toward Christians, and former Muslims especially, persecution watchdog Open Doors USA said: “Converts from Islam to Christianity are most at risk of persecution, especially by the government and to a lesser extent by society and their own families. The government sees the growth of the church in Iran as an attempt by Western countries to undermine Islam and the Islamic regime of Iran. House groups made up of converts from Muslim backgrounds are often raided, and both their leaders and members have been arrested, prosecuted and given long prison sentences for ‘crimes against national security.’”

The Islamic Republic of Iran ranks 9th on the US Open Doors Watch List 2022 of the top 50 countries where Christians are persecuted.