An Iranian Christian whose father, mother and brother have all been handed jail terms has spoken out against their verdicts.
Ahead of a planned legal appeal, Dabrina Bet Tamraz stated, “My father and mother have been given heavy sentences without any evidence. The verdict against my father says he attended religious seminars in the US, Sweden and the Netherlands even though he has never stepped foot in those countries.”
Dabrina’s father previously pastored an Assyrian church in Tehran. Iranian authorities normally permit Christians from the Assyrian and Armenian ethnic groups to meet openly, but Victor’s church was closed down in 2009, because the congregation worshipped in the Farsi, the language spoken by most Iranians, who are Muslims. Victor and his wife then held meetings in their own home, prior to their arrest. They have been given jail terms of five and ten years, respectively, for “acting against national security”, but are appealing against the sentences. In June, Dabrina’s brother Ramiel became the third member of the family to be sentenced to jail for “acting against national security”.
Dabrina insists, “Using the Persian language [Farsi] in church cannot be considered a crime … It’s not a sin nor a crime or against national security to gather at a home and pray.” Iranian authorities fiercely persecute Farsi-speaking Christian congregations, almost all of whom are made up of converts from Islam.