Iranian Christian Convert Handed Two-Year Prison Sentence

April 3, 2024

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Prayers are needed for Laleh Saati, an Iranian Christian convert from Islam, who has been sentenced to two years’ imprisonment for “acting against national security by connecting with ‘Zionist’ Christian organizations”.

Farsi (Persian)-speaking Christians are converts from Islam and therefore punishable as apostates according to Islamic law. Unlike the historic Armenian- and Assyrian-speaking Christian communities they are not permitted to hold church services or worship freely.

On February 13, Laleh, 45, was arrested at her father’s home in Ekbatan, Tehran, and interrogated for three weeks at Evin Prison. After searching the house, intelligence agents confiscated her mobile phone, laptop and several Christian books. During her detention photographs and videos of her baptism in Malaysia and other Christian activities were identified as evidence of her “crime”.

Laleh Saati faces two years in prison, followed by a two-year travel ban on completion of her sentence [Image credit: Facebook]

On March 16, Laleh appeared before Branch 26 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court where she was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment, with a further two-year ban on leaving the country added to be effective upon her release. She had lived for some time in Malaysia before returning to Iran in 2017 because of the length of time her asylum process was taking, and to care for her elderly parents in Iran.

Laleh was interrogated by intelligence agents on several occasions after her return.

Evidence of her alleged actions against national security included involvement in “house churches” since returning to Iran and Christian activities in Malaysia, including her baptism, discovered on her mobile phone.

The court’s verdict was not communicated to Laleh’s lawyer until March 25. It is not yet known if she is planning to appeal against her sentence.

Pray that Laleh will experience God’s comfort and strength as she begins her sentence. Ask that her situation will serve as clear evidence to immigration authorities worldwide that Christians face persecution in their countries of origin when asylum claims are delayed or rejected. 

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