Christian convert whose son has leukaemia released from prison

Christian convert whose son has leukaemia released from prison

A 50-year-old Christian convert whose son has been battling leukaemia for five years was released from prison on Monday, two days before his 25th birthday.

Malihe Nazari, who was serving a six-year prison sentence in Tehran’s Evin Prison for “acting against national security by promoting ‘Zionist’ Christianity”, had been in prison since August 2022.

Her son, Mohammad-Hossein, turns 25 today.

Article18 has not yet been able to independently verify the details of Malihe’s release, but Mohabat News reported that the Supreme Court ruled in her favour due to her son’s condition.

Mohammad-Hossein was first diagnosed with cancer five years ago and at one stage was believed to have recovered, until a resurgence two years ago.

Malihe was given three days’ leave from prison in March, as Mohammad-Hossein’s health had deteriorated. However, as noted by Article18’s director, Mansour Borji, at the UK parliament presentation of our annual report last month, Malihe was then forced to return to prison on the day of the Iranian New Year.


Joseph Shahbazian and Mina Khajavi.

Malihe was sentenced alongside another Christian woman convert to Christianity, Mina Khajavi, who is 60 years old, and an Iranian-Armenian pastor, Joseph Shahbazian, who is 59.

Mina also received a six-year sentence, but has not yet had to go to prison after a doctor ruled that she was not well enough; Mina suffered a bad ankle break when a car ran her over last year.

Joseph began his 10-year prison sentence at the same time as Malihe and remains in Evin Prison, but the Supreme Court recently ordered a retrial in his case.

The three Christians were among at least 35 Christians arrested or interrogated by intelligence agents belonging to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in a coordinated operation over two days and across three cities in the summer of 2020.

Four other Christian converts were also sentenced to imprisonment as part of the same case – Salar Eshraghi Moghadam, Farhad KhazaeeSomayeh (Sonya) Sadegh and her mother Masoumeh Ghasemi – but permitted to pay fines (equivalent to between $800-$1,250 each) instead of going to prison.

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