Iran Continues to Imprison Children’s Music Teacher For Christian Beliefs

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I can’t find the name Maryam (Nasim) Naghash Zargaran in any mainstream newspaper. But the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran recently reported that Zargaran, imprisoned for her Christian beliefs, has renewed a hunger strike.

Maryam ZargaranChristian convert Maryam (Nasim) Naghash Zargaran, imprisoned since 2013, has vowed to continue the hunger strike she began on July 5, 2016 until her demand for early conditional release is met, her mother, Zahra Pour-Nouhi Langroudi, told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran.

“I’m really worried for her. It has been seven days since she started her hunger strike,” said Langroudi after visiting her daughter in prison. “She said this time she won’t stop until the authorities pay attention to her demand.” …

The former children’s music teacher was arrested for her alleged missionary activities on November 5, 2012. During a trial in which she had no legal counsel, Zargaran was sentenced in 2013 to four years in prison by Branch 28 of the Revolutionary Court, presided by Judge Mohammad Moghisseh, for “assembly and collusion against national security.” The Appeals Court upheld her sentence.

On June 6, 2016 Zargaran was granted furlough for five days [after an earlier hunger strike], which was extended until June 27. She began [this] hunger strike shortly after being returned to prison to convince the Judiciary to consider her for early release.

The Islamic Republic’s Protestant Christian and Christian convert communities are subjected to severe persecution and discrimination and are harshly prosecuted for their alleged proselytizing activities.

Despite President Hassan Rouhani’s pledges during his election campaign in 2013 that “All ethnicities, all religions, even religious minorities, must feel justice,” the targeting of Christian converts has continued unabated under his administration.

In a small bit of good news from Iran, Atena Faraghdani, the Iranian cartoonist whose imprisonment I wrote about here, has reportedly been released.

The ICHRI has also made a video about the conditions of the female political prisoners at Evin. Take a look.



 

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