A young mother convicted of her Christian faith

A young mother convicted of her Christian faith In the Islamic Republic, judges and politicians can condemn people without the support of the law. So Ms. Fatemeh Passandideh (Nadarkhani), wife of Pasteur Youcef Nadarkhani has been sentenced on August 3rd to life imprisonment by the court of Rasht for a thought crime. The court of Rasht ruled that this young mother of two boys was guilty of “apostasy” in a trial where she did not have the assistance of an attorney.

The sentence was announced on August 3, 2010. Passandideh Fatemeh’s arrest, known to Christians under the name “Sister Tina”, was intended initially to increase the pressure on her husband pastor Youcef who has been in prison since October 12, 2009. They had asked Sister Tina several times to reject the Lordship of Jesus and return to Islam.

Observers of Iran note a deterioration in living conditions for Christians following UN, then US sanctions to punish the Mullah’s for their nuclear ambitions. This sentence reflects Iranian officials’ anger following the recent approval by the European Union of sanctions against the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps.

Also, remember that Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani (Passandideh Fatemeh’s husband) and Pastor Behrouz Khanjani are in prison for thought crimes and they are waiting for conviction and sentences that will not be lenient.

Passandideh Tina’s conviction marks a new stage in the repression of the Iranian Christian minority whose demographic experienced severe erosion since the beginning of the revolution. This erosion worsened in the last two years following the decision of Ahmadinejad and Ayatollah Janati to eradicate Christianity in Iran.

According to estimates, over 80% of Christians of different confessions fled Iran after the arrival of the Islamic Republic.This condemnation is all the more troubling given that it is not based on any legal text. It contradicts the Iranian Constitution whose principles are in the spirit of the human rights, but are not being applied. Thank you for your prayers for this family who live in a testing time.

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