On Dec. 16, several Iranian security officials forcibly entered the home of Hamideh Najafi in the city of Mashhad. They arrested her and seized personal belongings, including CDs and hand-painted portraits of Jesus Christ, according to Farsi Christian News Network.
Officials interrogated Hamideh and requested the names of Christian evangelists in Iran. Officials also demanded that she deny her faith and return to Islam. When Hamideh refused, her husband was brought to the detention center and blindfolded. Officials told Hamideh that her husband would be beaten unless she signed a confession saying that she was mentally and psychologically disturbed. Hamideh reportedly succumbed to pressure and signed the confession.
Hamideh appeared in court briefly on Dec. 30, without a lawyer. Although no formal charges were brought against her, she was sentenced to house arrest for three months and has been accused of committing a “political” crime for contacting a foreign Christian television network.
While Hamideh was detained, the couple’s 10-year-old daughter, Hadi, was held under the supervision of the welfare office. Following the court’s verdict, Hadi was ordered to be transferred to foster parents because of her mother’s alleged “mental condition.” However, since Hadi is suffering from a kidney and bladder infection, she was conditionally left in her mother’s care.
Officials have told the couple that if they hold to their Christian beliefs and speak publicly about their faith, Hadi will be taken away from them immediately and transferred to the custody of the welfare office.
This is the latest in a series of arrests of believers in Iran in recent months. On March 5, 2009, Marzieh Amirizadeh Esmaeilabad and Maryam Rustampoor were arrested by Iranian security forces and labeled “anti-government activists.” Marzieh and Maryam were released from prison on Nov. 18, 2009.
The Voice of the Martyrs stands with and supports persecuted believers in Iran. VOM encourages you to pray for Hamideh’s strength during her time of house arrest. Ask God to protect her and her family and to embolden them to proclaim his name in the face of great pressure. Pray that Hadi will recover from her infection and that she will be able to remain with her parents.