Christian woman convert begins two-year prison sentence

Christian woman convert begins two-year prison sentence

A 51-year-old woman Christian convert today began serving a two-year prison sentence in Tehran’s Evin prison for “acting against national security by establishing and leading an Evangelical Christian church”.

Fariba Dalir, whose case has not been reported until now, was one of six converts arrested in Tehran in July last year, including her fiancé at the time and now husband, Soroush.

Five of the Christians were sentenced in December – Fariba to two years, and the other four, including Soroush, to 10 months for membership of the church.

However, due to time already spent in detention, these four were told they could instead choose to pay fines of 5 million tomans each (around $250) to escape further imprisonment.

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 centre of the Revolutionary Guard Corps.

Fariba and Soroush themselves each spent over a month in solitary confinement at the detention centre following their arrests on 19 July 2021 – Fariba at a hair salon, and Soroush while driving his car.

Three of the other Christians, including the 17-year-old and another woman and her daughter, had been arrested at their homes the previous day.

The sixth Christian, a man, was arrested on the same day as Fariba and Soroush, but the names of these other Christians have not been divulged.

After spending around 50 days each in solitary confinement, Fariba was transferred to Qarchak women’s prison and Soroush to the Greater Tehran Penitentiary, where they were detained for two months longer, before being released on bail – of 600 million tomans ($25,000) for Fariba, and 300 million tomans ($12,500) for Soroush.

The couple married in the months between their release and sentencing, which took place on 4 December 2021 at Branch 26 of Tehran’s Revolutionary Court, but now they are apart again.

Fariba was in fact initially sentenced to five years in prison after the court wrongly stated that she had a previous criminal record. Her sentence was later revised once the court was informed of the error.

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