Iran Places Christian Mother Under House Arrest

Thursday, January 7, 2010

By Worthy News Middle East Service

TEHRAN, IRAN (Worthy News)-- An Iranian court forced a Christian convert with a Muslim background to sign a confession that she is "mentally unstable" and placed her under three months of house arrest in the city of Mashhad, 850 kilometers (530 miles) east of the capital Tehran, trial observers said.

Hamideh Najafi was also told by authorities that her 10-year-old child will be taken from her and her husband if they continue to speak about their choice to follow Jesus Christ, said Middle East Concern (MEC), an advocacy group that closely monitored the case, said Thursday, January 8.

MEC told Worthy News and its partner agency BosNewsLife that a court ordered authorities to take custody of the daughter, but that officials were so far reluctant to do so due to the child's ill health. Christians said earlier that she was suffering of a "severe kidney and bladder infection."

Najafi, a former Muslim, was detained December 16 by three officers at her home in Mashhad for allegedly contacting foreign Christian broadcasters, Christians said.


Before being placed under house arrest, she was reportedly held near the same facility where Pastor Hossein Soodmand was executed in 1990 for his Christian activities. "Although entitled to legal representation under Iranian law, she was denied access to a lawyer," ahead of the "hastily convened court hearing" this week, MEC said.

The group said it had obtained prayer requests from Iranian Christians that the "court order will be overturned" and that "all officials involved will act justly and respond to the love and truth of Jesus."

Separately, MEC said, that the last Christian still detained following massive arrests of Christian converts in the towns of Amameh and Rasht in August and September has been freed. His name was not immediately released, apparently because of security concerns.

There has been growing pressure on Christian converts, especially on former Muslims, in strictly Islamic Iran, several church and rights groups say.