Iranian security forces arrested a female Christian convert in Tehran, after searching her home and confiscating her personal belongings.
According to the Human Rights News Agency, on June 30 security forces went to the home of Maliheh Nazari in Tehran’s Aria Shahr and seized her computer, smartphone, and books.
The family of the 46-year-old Christian convert was told that she would be taken to Evin prison. Her family have not been allowed any visits yet. Nazari was only allowed a short phone call to her family informing them of her health.
Before this, at least 12 Iranian Christian converts were arrested by Revolutionary Guards Corps intelligence agents in coordinated arrests across three cities.
The arrests took place last Tuesday and Wednesday in Tehran, the neighboring city of Karaj, and Malayer in northwestern Iran.
The Iranian Christians were beaten and manhandled upon their arrest.
On June 21, a Revolutionary Court in southern Iran sentenced seven Iranian Christian converts to prison, exile, a financial penalty, and a ban on work and social activities.
The seven men and women were sentenced by a Revolutionary Court in Bushehr for “spreading propaganda against the state”.
According to Iranian law, evangelism, missionary work, and converting to Christianity can be a crime meriting a sentence of more than 10 years imprisonment. The distribution of Christian literature in Persian is currently illegal in Iran.
There is officially no crime known as apostasy in the penal code (although there was a law about it prior to 1994). The last known execution for this crime was in 1990. However, despite there being no official civil law of apostasy, judges may still convict a defendant of that crime if they rule based on religious fatwas.
According to Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship, and observance.”