Iranian convert on brink of prison prays, “may the persecution I endure glorify the name of Jesus Christ”
“May the persecution and imprisonment that I endure glorify the name of Jesus Christ,” were the words spoken by Roksari Kanbari, an Iranian convert to Christianity, moments before she reported to the authorities to begin a one-year prison sentence on 14 October.
The 61-year-old wife and mother spoke in a short video in which she said she had been arrested by agents of Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence for “the crime of believing in Jesus Christ”.
Roksari was convicted on 27 July and sentenced two days later for “propaganda against the system” by Karaj Islamic Revolutionary Court. Friends who witnessed proceedings said that the judge was rude and tried to humiliate Roksari, previously a Muslim, when she disagreed with him.
When first arrested in December 2018 at her home in Karaj, Roksari endured ten days of intensive interrogation “from morning until evening”. She was then taken before a prosecutor to answer charges of “acting against national security” and forced to go to an Islamic religious leader to be “instructed” and “offered the opportunity to return to Islam”.
Her case came to international attention in August when the US Vice President, Mike Pence, tweeted that he was “appalled” to learn Roksari was to be jailed “for exercising her freedom to worship”.
Pence described the persecution of Roksari and Iranian Pastor Bet Tamraz, currently on bail awaiting an appeal against a ten-year sentence, as “an affront to religious freedom”.