Iran Jails Christian Mother For Contacting Christian Broadcasters

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

By Stefan J. Bos, Worthy News Chief International Correspondent

TEHRAN, IRAN (Worthy News)-- A Christian mother jailed in Iran was apparently still prevented from meeting her family Tuesday, January 5, nearly three weeks after she was detained by police for allegedly contacting foreign Christian broadcasters.

The Farsi Christian News Network (FCNN) said Hamideh Najafi, a former Muslim, was arrested December 16 by three officers at her home in the city of Mashhad, 850 kilometres (530 miles) east of the capital Tehran.

FCNN quoted Najafi's husband as saying she would be charged with "contacting foreign Christian television networks" under new legislation regarding "political crimes." Her books, compact disks and hand painted portraits of Jesus Christ were taken as 'evidence', Christians said.

Najafi's family has not been allowed to contact the woman since her arrest, which was ordered by the Revolutionary Court of Mashhad, FCNN added. "There has been no telephone contact or visitation granted to the family."

The network said Najafi was believed to be held at a detention center near the notorious Mashhad prison where she was interrogated so "confessions [could] be obtained for a future court trial."


She is held near the same facility where Pastor Hossein Soodmand was executed in 1990 for his Christian activities before being buried in "a trash dump site" outside of the city, Christians said.

Christian rights groups have called Najafi's detention "baseless" and expressed concerns about her well-being. Her detention reportedly also added to health problems of her 10-year-old daughter.

She is suffering from "a severe kidney and bladder infection that only her mother is capable of nursing," FCNN explained. The girl's condition apparently deteriorated as she "is missing her mother and has not been able to attend school," Christians said.

The incident comes amid reports of growing pressure on Christian converts in the strict Islamic nation.

Mashhad is the birth place of Ayatollah Khamenei, the supreme leader of the Islamic Republic, and is considered an ultra-religious city, analysts say.

Despite reports of persecution, Christians claim there has been a growth in "underground" home based churches in the area.