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Christian prisoner of conscience mourns death of only child

Christian prisoner of conscience mourns death of only child

Yasser’s son, Amin Ali, during his younger years.

An Iranian Christian prisoner of conscience is mourning the death of his only child.

Mehdi (Yasser) Akbari, who was a single parent, was informed on 28 December that his 18-year-old son, Amin Ali, who had underlying health issues, had passed away in the care facility where he had been living since his father’s imprisonment in June 2020. 

The Christian prisoner of conscience was given five days’ leave from 1 January, but by that time his son’s funeral had already taken place.

Yasser’s leave was later extended to 10 days, but he was forced to return to Tehran’s Evin Prison earlier today.

Mehdi (Yasser) Akbari.

The news comes as Iranians have been reacting angrily on social media to the death of another prisoner of conscience, writer Baktash Abtin, who contracted Covid-19 in Evin.

Baktash’s “crime” was to exercise his right to freedom of speech, for which he was convicted of “actions against national security” and sentenced to six years in prison.

Yasser’s “crime” was to exercise his right to freedom of religion by converting to Christianity and joining a house-church, for which he was also convicted of “acting against national security” and sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Both ended up in Evin, arriving there just months apart. Now Baktash has lost his life, and Yasser his only child.

When will Iran stop imprisoning its citizens only for exercising their rights?