Rashin Soodmand: ‘Our only request is they give us back his burial place’

Rashin Soodmand: ‘Our only request is they give us back his burial place’

Rashin Soodmand speaking with Release International yesterday. (Photo: YouTube/ReleaseInternational)

The daughter of an Iranian Christian pastor executed for “apostasy” 30 years ago has called on the Iranian authorities to return his burial place to his family.

Rev Hossein Soodmand’s grave was found demolished when his family went to visit it on the 29th anniversary of his execution in December last year.

And Rashin, speaking with Christian charity Release International yesterday, said: “When they first introduced us to the place he was buried, it was a very dusty and unmarked grave, so we constantly asked them to allow us to install a headstone – even a simple sign with his name – but they didn’t give us permission. And now this has happened…

“As Christians, we believe our father is with the Lord Jesus Christ, so now he’s enjoying himself in His presence. However, here on earth, for his family and friends, we can see how important burial places are, even in the Bible. So our only request is to give us back his burial place.”

Rev Soodmand’s unmarked grave (right) was no longer there when his family visited in December.

Rashin was speaking on the annual ‘Day of the Christian Martyr’, 29 June, which is also the anniversary of the killing of another Iranian Christian leader 26 years ago: Rev Tateos Michaelian.

As Rashin noted, in the years since her father’s execution in 1990 the situation for Christians in Iran “hasn’t changed” for the better, especially for Christian converts.

“They can’t go to church buildings,” Rashin explained, “so they have to stay at home and worship the Lord, or feed themselves spiritually, without having connections with other believers.”

Converts who meet together face the constant threat of arrest and imprisonment, as Article18 has reported.

Indeed, the most recent case, reported yesterday, involving seven converts from the south-western city of Bushehr, shows that even possession of Christian literature or symbols is enough to be charged with “propaganda against the state”. 

The seven Christians are now facing sentences ranging from prison and exile to work restrictions and fines.

You can watch the whole of Rashin’s interview in the video below: