Published: 16:30 GMT Daylight Time - Thursday 02 August 2012
Teenage son of jailed Christian parents in Iran left to care for sister
Country/Region: Middle East and North Africa, Iran
The teenage son of an Iranian couple who converted to Christianity and were jailed for their faith has been left to care for his 12-year-old sister alone.
Nima (17) is looking after
younger sister Helma (12)
Image Source: Mohabat News
Nima (17) is working in a shoe shop to support himself and his sister, Helma, and has to send half of his wages to cover his parents’ prison expenses.
He was arrested along with his mother, Fariba Nazemian, and father, Homayoun Shokouhi, as well as other converts from Islam on 8 February 2012. The teenager was released after 36 days in prison upon the payment of US$80,000 bail. He was not allowed to return to school because he had spent time in jail.
Nima and Helma, from Shiraz, have been rejected by their maternal family because of their conversion to Christianity, and their father’s family do not live in the same part of the country. They receive some support from other Christian converts in Shiraz, but Nima often has to take his sister to work with him to look after her there.
The children have not been allowed to visit their mother recently, and her health is reportedly very poor; Fariba’s condition is not helped by having to work long hours in the prison’s sewing workshop. She is being held in the same cell as drug addicts and murderers.
Fariba and Homayoun, and three other converts who were arrested with them, are being held in Adel-Abad prison. They have not been formally charged, but the authorities have said that they will face the following charges: attending house church meetings, evangelising, propagating against the Islamic regime and disturbing national security.
Jailed pastor denied treatment
Last week, we reported concerns over the deteriorating health of Iranian pastor Benham Irani, who is serving a six-year jail sentence: severe bleeding as a result of stomach ulcers and complications with his colon caused him to lose consciousness. It has now been revealed that he is being denied hospital treatment and is being kept in his cell despite his stricken state, and there are fears that he may die within months or even weeks.
Pastor Irani, who is being held in Ghezal Hesar prison, has endured frequent beatings from both fellow inmates and the prison authorities and also been threatened with death.