Iranian judiciary grants Christian prisoners 10 days’ holiday

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent

(Worthy News) - Christian prisoners in Iran were treated to a rare act of mercy by the state as the country’s judiciary granted them 10 days’ leave to be with their families during the Christmas holidays, Radio Free Europe (RFE) reports.

The judiciary’s decision to grant this dispensation to believing prisoners is particularly surprising as Iran’s Islamic regime is renowned for its hostility toward Iranian Christians: believers are seen as a threat to the government. Indeed, Iran ranks 8 on the US Open Doors Watch List 2021 of the top 50 countries where Christians are persecuted.

Announcing its decision on December 26, the judiciary said on its Mizan Online website: "The decision is to mark the New Year 2022 and the anniversary of the birth of Jesus Christ," RFE reports. The provision was authorized by the head of the judiciary Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejehi, but it was not clear what day the leave would begin.

The announcement clarified that the provision does not apply to anyone facing the death penalty or to anyone convicted of undermining security or of violent crime. However, it was not known how many Christians would benefit from the furlough, RFE said.

Christians make up one percent of Iran's total population of 83 million, the majority of whom are Shi’ite Muslims. Christians who convert from Islam are particularly vulnerable to persecution and harassment, not only from the government but also from their own family members and communities.