Iran sentences Christian convert to 10 lashes for ‘disturbing public order’

CNA Staff, Apr 23, 2020 / 01:30 pm (CNA).- Iran has sentenced a 21 year-old Christian woman to prison and lashing for “disturbing public order,” after she protested the destruction of a passenger jet by the military.

Mary (Fatemeh) Mohammadi, a 21 year-old Iranian convert to Christianity, was arrested on Jan. 12 after taking part in anti-government protests that followed the shooting down of a passenger jet, Ukrainian Air Flight 752, by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard (IRG).  Iran announced several days after the incident that the IRG mistakenly shot the plane down, resulting in the deaths of all 176 people on board the flight.

In an Instagram post on Wednesday, Mohammadi said her sentence of three months and one day in prison is suspended for one year. She was also sentenced to 10 lashes.

Mohammadi said she has been tortured in prison and suffered “terrible conditions” for “protesting against the slaughter of human beings.” She said she did not appeal her sentence “because the appeal courts have turned into affirmative tribunals.”

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) tweeted a condemnation of Mohammadi’s sentencing on Wednesday, saying that “No peaceful activist should be targeted on the basis of their religious beliefs.”

President Trump highlighted her case in his remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast on Feb. 6, saying that she “was seized and imprisoned in Iran because she converted to Christianity and shared the Gospel with others.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also discussed Mohammadi’s case in a Feb. 12 interview with Tony Perkins on Washington Watch. Perkins is also the chair of USCIRF.

Pompeo said the U.S. was “deeply concerned” of reports of Mohammadi’s arrest, and said she was “targeted by the regime because she made the choice to convert to Christianity.”

According to the All Party Parliamentary Group for International Freedom of Religion or Belief, Mohammadi was “physically and emotionally abused during her arrest and transfer to Qarchak prison,” and was questioned about her faith at her hearing.

Mohammadi was one of a group of survivors of religious persecution who met with President Trump last July at the White House, according to the Christian Post.

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