An Iranian court in southwestern Iran took away the custody of the 2-year-old adopted daughter of an Iranian Christian couple. Maryam Falahi and Sam Khosravi adopted Lydia when she was just 3 months old. The Bushehr Court of Appeals said on September 22 that the child was born to Muslim parents and therefore a Christian family could not adopt her.
According to Article Eighteen, a website that advocates for the rights of Iranian Christians, the judge presiding over the Bushehr family court initially said on July 19 that 2 year old Lydia had a strong bond with her Christian parents, adding that the child, who has serious health issues, would have “an unknown future” if returned to the orphanage. The judge also said that due to her health issues, the chances of another family adopting her was “zero”.
Lydia suffers from heart and digestive problems and the Welfare Origination, through which children are adopted, had not informed the Iranian Christian couple of her health issues. Despite this, they tried their best to care for her. A supervisor at the Welfare Organization and forensic medicine also confirmed that during this time, Maryam Falahi, a nurse of several years at the Bushehr Cardiac Hospital and her husband, had taken very good care of Lydia.
According to the lawyer on the case the judge’s verdict for the custody case is against the “Islamic fatwa” of two senior clerics who said that due to “necessity” the child could stay in the custody of the Iranian Christian couple.
“According to article 3 of the Law on the Protection of Orphaned and Abused Children and Adolescents, all Iranian citizens residing in Iran can adopt children and nothing about religion has been cited,” the lawyer said.
Maryam Falahi and Sam Khosravi are among 10 Christian converts who were arrested by security forces on July 1, 2019. They were fined and banned from employment in state affiliated jobs.