Iranian Christian sentenced—’I and my family were forced to endure all kinds of torture’

April 21, 2020 by Lindy Lowry in Middle East

A week after her court hearing on April 14, 21-year-old Iranian Christian convert Mary (Fatemeh) Mohammadi has received a suspended sentence of 10 lashes and three months plus one day in prison.

 

However, the sentence was suspended for a year, depending on the Christian activist’s conduct.

The sentence comes after she was found guilty of participating in anti-government protests following Iran’s admission of guilt in the downing of a Ukranian passenger plane.

Mary has not appealed the verdict, calling Iran’s appeal courts “affirmative tribunals.” She told Article18:

“There was no evidence against me, so I ought to have been acquitted, but instead I was sentenced not only to imprisonment, but also flogging.

“And it should be mentioned that even before the verdict was handed down, I and my family were forced to endure all kinds of torture, none of which was sanctioned by law, and which ought to be considered crimes in themselves. So even if I would have been acquitted, it wouldn’t have been a real acquittal!”

Article18 reported that during the hearing, the judge questioned her about her religious views, even though the charges were unrelated to her faith.

The judge cited no evidence against her, saying that her presence in the area where the rally was taking place was “evidence in itself.”

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Mary has previously spent six months in prison for her membership of a Tehran house-church. The young woman is a rare Christian activist in a country where leaving Islam is illegal. Last year,  she launched a campaign called “Kahma,” fighting for the rights of all Christians—whether from Christian homes, or Christian converts—to be given the right to attend church.

After this most recent arrest, Mary endured repeated torture. She was forced to sit in a yard for hours opposite the toilets, in extremely cold weather, and was not given any food for 24 hours. While she was in Qarchak women’s prison, reportedly she was severely tortured and beaten so badly by male and female officers that the bruises were still visible on her body three weeks later. She was also strip-searched twice by female officers, who told her that if she refused to remove her clothes, they would rip them from her.

“I want to thank all my friends who have thought about me while I was in prison and defended my rights while waiting to be sentenced,” she wrote on Facebook before her hearing. “I appreciate you walking with me through this difficult time.”

Click here to join others in lifting up Mary in prayer

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