04/03/2019 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – When Ayatollah Khomeini and his band of radical Islamists took over Iran in 1979, fundamentalist Islamic theology infiltrated every nook and cranny of Iran.
By design, Islam is more than a religion. It is an ideology that, when fused together with statecraft, has the potential to impact all aspects of life for Iranians – especially Iranian Christians.
In Iran, any practice that contradicts Islam is regarded as a national security threat, punished severely by the court system.
Legal Oppression in Iran
Revolutionary courts were created to guard against all threats to Islam. These courts have evolved into a well-oiled machine of oppression that operates with impunity under state protection. The courts are closely intertwined with the Intelligence Ministry. Judges have at their disposal Revolutionary Guards (secret police) and a network of prisons used to torture and interrogate Christians.
“If you recant and repent, you’ll go to jail. And if you don’t, you’ll be killed.” said Dr. Mike Ansari from Heart4Iran, an Iranian Christian ministry. The penal code lacks guidance for the judiciary regarding Muslim converts. Christians may be looking at large fines, detention, lengthy prison sentences, or even execution under Islamic Sharia law. The sentences of Christian converts are left up to the interpretation of the judge and may be founded on anything – the judge’s mood that day, what he had for breakfast, his interpretation of Sharia law, or his level of hatred toward Christianity.
Judge Mashallah Ahmadzadeh
Judge Mashallah Ahmadzadeh (JMA) is one of Iran’s top human rights abusers.
JMA is a trained Islamic clergyman who was hand-selected by the Judicial Chief for the position. His desire to crush the Church has earned him notoriety—and promotion. Many Christians have passed through his court into the prison system. He has used the full power of the state in his quest to crush the Iranian Church and force Christians to recant.
Amin Naderi, a Muslim-background believer, was a target of JMA. Naderi was arrested in 2016 when secret police raided a garden party attended by 17 Christians. For months after his arrest, his status was unknown. Eventually, he was discovered to be detained in Evin Prison. The authorities were hiding him in a ward which, by Iran’s own laws, he should not have been kept in.
Naderi would later publicly ask the authorities, “If we (Christians) are actually what you say we are and we have insulted your religious beliefs and if your judicial process from the time of arrest to interrogation and court sessions were all lawful, then why are you hiding us from people?”
Naderi’s stay in Evin Prison took a significant toll on his health. Over the next year, Naderi’s court case was pending before JMA. His false witness majorly contributed to Naderi’s treatment in prison. He was aware of the interrogations, the medical abuse, and the psychological impact, and he continued to testify against Naderi.
Stay tuned for Part 2, coming tomorrow.
For interviews, please contact Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator: email@example.com