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03/13/2020 Iran (International Christian Concern) – Mary Fatemeh Mohammadi, an Iranian Christian activist, has had her court hearing scheduled for mid-April. She was previously released on bail from Qarchak Prison as part of a broader trend in Iran of releasing some prisoners because of the spread of the coronavirus. Her initial court hearing was also delayed because of the virus.

Mary has spoken out through Twitter condemning the government’s decision to keep several political prisoners incarcerated during this time. Iran has one of the highest number of coronavirus cases outside of China, and a number of top level government officials have contracted the virus. Iran had previously furloughed some prisoners, but only those whose sentences were less than five years. Most imprisoned Christians have longer sentences and are not eligible for furlough. The grossly inhumane living conditions of Iran’s prisons makes these environments a prime contributor for the spread of the virus.

Iran’s religious freedom record is one of the worst in the world. The clerical government enforces a strict interpretation of Islam throughout society. However, as the society increasing rejects the government’s authority, they are also are increasingly rejecting Islam. The church in the Iran is the fastest growing Christian community in the Middle East. The more that it grows, the more pressure that Christians face by the government.

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