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09/25/2020 Iran (International Christian Concern) –  An Iranian Christian convert couple arrested this past July have lost their appeal to retain custody of their adopted daughter, who is just over one-year-old.

Sam Khosravi and Maryam Falahi were arrested following a raid of their house in the Persian Gulf city of Bushehr. Sam was sentenced to a year in prison followed by two years of internal exile. Maryam was fined 8 million tomans. Both were given work restrictions. The custody hearing followed these events.

They had adopted their daughter Lydia in 2019, who has health issues and was previously placed in an orphanage. Some have commented that the language by the judge during their lost custody hearing indicate reluctance on his part to rule against the family. Iran’s judiciary is not independent and strongly influenced by the Ministry of Intelligence. It is likely that Lydia will once again become a ward of the state, and that she may not ever again be adopted.

Adoption is a highly contentious issue in the Middle East, and adopting across religious faiths is often not possible. In other examples of forced family separation, some Iranian Christians are forced to flee the country in order to escape persecution.

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