In an article by Stoyan Zaimov, in the August 24 Christian Post, he writes about the plight of a disabled mother of a Christian prisoner in Iran. Her son is held in Rajaei-Shahr prison, and she has been unable to visit him because she is visually impaired.
As reported by Mohabat News on Tuesday, Ebrahim Firouzi, is one of several people imprisoned because of their Christian faith. Because he was not allowed access to his defense documents, he refused to attend his appeals court hearing. His appointed judge was not present, so the hearing has been postponed for four months.
According to the National Council of Resistance of Iran, Firouzi was arrested in August 2013, and sentenced to five years in prison in 2015. he was charged with “acting against national security,” a charge often given to prisoners of faith in Iran.
Firouzi’s mother pled with officials to handle her son’s case fairly and to release him. “Crying as she delivered the message to the authorities, Mr. Firouzi’s elderly mother said that she is visually impaired and there is nothing she can do and has no one to help her. She said she doesn’t have the ability to go from court to court and follow up on her son’s case,” Mohabat News reports. “She added that she misses her son and because of her disability she has not been able to visit her son in prison. She pleaded with the authorities to release her son so he can come home.”
Persecution of Christians and other minority religions is common in the Islamic Republic, where jail sentences are regularly meted out to those who practice their faith. Those who gather in House churches, which are not permitted, may be rounded up and arrested. Christian converts are often beaten and arrested.
Last May, the U.K.-based Christian Solidarity Worldwide reported that Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani, leader of a house church from the Church of Iran, was once again under arrest, after his acquittal of apostasy in 2012, for which he had originally been sentenced to death by hanging. “We are deeply concerned by these developments and await further clarification regarding the reasons for these arrests,” CSW’s Chief Executive Mervyn Thomas said at the time, noting that the 37-year-old pastor’s wife, Tina Pasandide Nadarkhani, and fellow church member Yasser Mosayebzadeh, had also been arrested. “Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for Christians who have been arrested on account of their religious beliefs to be released and re-arrested time and again, in a tactic designed to foster a sense of insecurity within the community,” Thomas added.
As of March 15, some 821 individuals are imprisoned in Iran for exercising their fundamental rights, according to the database of prisoners of the Iran Human Rights Documentation Center, including Sunni Muslims, Baha’i, Christians, Sufis, Dervishes, and other religious minorities.