News Iran | 27 April 2024

Iranian Christian sentenced to two years in Evin Prison


Show: true / Country: Iran / Iran
How can a decision to be baptized in another country be a “crime” punishable by imprisonment? 

This is the situation that Laleh Saati, a Christian woman from Iran now faces. When she was baptized in Malaysia while she was seeking asylum from her home country, she had no inkling that her Christian activities 17,000 kilometers away would translate to a prison sentence in her homeland. 

But when Laleh came back to Iran to be with her elderly parents in 2017, her return visit set in motion a living nightmare for the 45-year-old believer. Article 18 reports that upon her return, she was interrogated for three full weeks. During that time, prosecutors brought evidence of Laleh’s baptism and Christian activities in Malaysia as proof of her “crime.” Some seven years later in February 2024, she was arrested at her father’s home, charged with “acting against national security,” and taken to the notorious Evin Prison. 

A month later on March 16, Laleh faced a judge whose words and actions painted a grim picture for Laleh and all Iranian Christians seeking asylum. Reportedly, he asked her why she had risked returning to Iran, “given that you have done such things outside of Iran.” 

She soon learned through her lawyer that the “risk” would mean two years of her life in one of Iran’s most inhumane prisons and, to punish her even further, a two-year travel ban following her release. 

An Open Doors expert on Iran notes that Christians’ decision to return to Iran often means risking persecution, imprisonment and even death. “I can testify to the terrifying reality facing active Christians who are returning/deported back to Iran,” he says. “These individuals face severe persecution, including imprisonment and torture, simply for practicing their faith. It's imperative that international communities recognize and address this grave danger, ensuring the safety and protection of those seeking refuge from religious persecution.”   

Pray with Laleh and all Iranian Christians 

•    As Laleh serves her prison sentence, pray for courage, comfort and peace. Pray for protection and emotional strength. Ask God to shield her from harm and help her find power in the support of prayers from her family and the worldwide Church. 
•    Pray for justice in Laleh’s case and that authorities will reconsider their decision and recognize her right to practice her faith without fear of persecution or imprisonment. May God's mercy and grace prevail in the hearts of those in power. 
•    Pray for comfort and strength for Laleh’s family as they endure this difficult separation. Pray they would have peace, knowing that their daughter is safe in God's hands. 
•    Pray for all Christians living at risk in Iran today. Pray for those facing similar punishment, and for those who have returned or deported to Iran and may face similar charges upon their return. Pray that their faith would remain strong in the face of adversity. 

photo from Facebook

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