Christian Prisoner: Mental Torture is Common Practice in Iranian Prisons | Persecution

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Christian Prisoner: Mental Torture is Common Practice in Iranian Prisons

ICC Note: The Iranian regime continues its intense crackdown on Christianity and continues to inflict intense abuse on those taken to prison. An Iranian Christian who was held and then released and just recently fled to seek asylum outside of Iran shares about the abuse and torture that he suffered while in prison. While some stories of imprisoned Christians makes it into the news, many more stories are never told especially from the smaller cities around Iran.

04/10/2014 Iran (Mohabat News) – In the past few years, especially after the controversial 2009 presidential election, the situation has been worsening for political and social activists, and religious minorities. The Islamic regime of Iran seizes every possible opportunity to restrict and pressure them. For Christian converts these pressures have been in the form of closure of churches, arrests, torture, long-term sentences and being exiled to remote places with extreme weather.

These persecutions have caused many Christians to leave their home country, Iran.

Hassan Saddat-Barikani, is a Christian convert who was imprisoned in Evin prison for several months before being conditionally release on bail. During this period of conditional release, threats against him, his family and his job grew to the point where he could not do anything but leave the country illegally. He and his family crossed the Iran-Turkey border, and claimed refugee status there.

When he was in Iran, security authorities had arrested him twice for his faith.

He told Mohabat News, “The situation is really tough for religious minorities, especially Christian converts, in Iran. Security authorities constantly pressure them. It even reached the point that churches were pressured to require us to present our ID cards and give our address and phone number before entering the church building. It was obviously a government requirement. Some churches were forced to cooperate with the government, or the government would intensify its pressure on the church. There are many unnamed Christians in prisons in Iran, especially in smaller cities. The situation is different in Tehran. News of Christian prisoners in Tehran find their way outside and are spread. However, no one would know about Christian prisoners in smaller cities”.

As Mr. Saddat-Barikani explains it, “In Iranian prisons, mental torture is nothing short of physical torture. Interrogators ask questions about the most personal family matters just to harass you mentally”. He and his family are currently seeking asylum in Turkey.

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