The Iranian judiciary has jailed another convert to Christianity on spurious charges. Fariba Dalir, 51, was sent to Evin Prison on Saturday, April 16 to begin serving a two-year sentence for “acting against national security by establishing and leading an Evangelical Christian church”.
A report by Article 18, a London-based campaign for religious freedom in Iran, states that Dalir was one of six converts arrested in Tehran last July, including her fiancé at the time and now husband, Soroush. Five of them were sentenced in December, with the other four, including Soroush, each jailed for 10 months for membership of the church.
The sixth Christian, a 17-year-old girl, was released without charge, but only after spending 10 days in solitary confinement and being subjected to intense interrogations in a detention center run by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.
Fariba and others were kept in solitary confinement for around 50 days. She was then transferred to Qarchak women’s prison, Soroush to the Greater Tehran Penitentiary, where they were each detained for two months longer before being released on bail.
The arbitrary prosecution of Christian converts has been an unbroken judicial-security practice under the Islamic Republic for years. Iran signed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 but the regime has consistently violated the convention’s Article 18, which states: “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.”