The appeals court in the Persian Gulf port of Bushehr has ruled that a Christian couple must give up custody of their adopted two-year-old daughter.

Maryam Fallahi and Sam Khosravi, an Iranian Christian couple, adopted a girl by the name of Lydia when she was 10 weeks old. The court’s verdict stated that a Christian family cannot have custody of Lydia because she was born to a Muslim mother.

This two-year-old child suffers from heart and digestive ailments and Iran’s Welfare Organization had not informed the couple of her condition before they adopted her. Nevertheless, both the Welfare Organization and the Medical Examiner confirmed that, throughout their custody, the couple gave Lydia the best care possible. The judge in his ruling conceded that the chances of another family adopting Lydia “is zero.”

“The verdict by the judge to separate Lydia from this Christian couple completely contradicts fatwas by [grand ayatollahs] Makarem Shirazi and Yousef Saanei, two Shia religious authorities,” said the couple’s lawyer. In response to the lawyers query, Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi had ruled that because of “necessity” the child can remain with the couple. And Ayatollah Saanei’s fatwa stated that, under Sharia law, there is no problem with the couple retaining custody of Lydia.

Maryam Fallahi and Sam Khosravi were among seven Christian converts who were arrested in the summer of 2019 by security forces in Bushehr, tried by a Revolutionary Court in June of this year, and later sentenced to prison, exile, a fine, and a ban on work and social activities. Sam Khosravi was sentenced to one year in prison and two years of exile from Bushehr while Maryam Fallahi was fined 80 million rials ($2,000) and was banned from government service for life.


Related Coverage:

US Government Publishes Overview of Iran's Crimes Against Religious Minorities, 11 June 2020

Iranian Authorities Step up Punishment of Christians, 5 August 2019

Intelligence Agents Closed Down an Assyrian Church and Removed the Cross, 25 May 2019

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