A 19-year-old Christian convert in Iran has described the abusive way in which she was treated by authorities as she was interrogated, with the questioning intently focused on trying to make her admit to "illicit" sexual relations with men.
Fatemeh Mohammadi, who served six months in the notorious Evin Prison for her faith, described how she was treated in a letter on Monday to the Human Rights Activists News Agency.
Mohammadi, who was sentenced by the Revolutionary Court in Tehran earlier this year on charges of "membership in evangelical groups," "engaging in Christian activities," and "acting against national security through propagating against the regime," says that she was repeatedly asked about sexual relations by officials.
She replied to them, "I have never been involved in any relationship; you are slandering me. What you are doing is not right or moral."
The young woman says that officials insisted they have evidence to prove their charges of sexual relations, but did not present any.
"No matter how much I insisted that I have never had a sexual relationship, they would not accept it," she said.
She was moved in and out of solitary confinement while multiple interrogators mocked her and continued questioning her about perceived immorality.
"I was feeling very sick during that session, and felt an excruciating pain in my chest; I could barely breathe and started to cough incessantly," Mohammadi shared.
"They attempted to force me to [falsely] confess to illicit sexual relations with men. At times, they pursued a line of questioning that would lead them to that conclusion. Their entire objective was to make this accusation stick and force me to make up a story about sexual relations for them to read and enjoy," she added.
"I could not imagine any other motivation for their actions, because sexual relations had nothing to do with my case."
Recalling her later experience in prison, Mohammadi said that she launched a dry hunger strike in order to be allowed to have a copy of the Bible, but despite her weakening condition, her request was rejected.
Although the Iranian government insists that it offers religious freedom, persecution watchdog groups and human rights agencies have said the Islamic regime is very hostile toward minorities, including Christians, Baha'is, and others.
Back in May, an Iranian court upheld the 10-year prison sentences of four Christians who were accused of "Zionist Christianity."
One of the Christians included Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani, who was previously sentenced to death for apostasy, before seeing the punishment overturned.
"The international community must press the government of Iran to uphold its constitutional and international obligation to ensure the full enjoyment of the right to freedom religion or belief for all of its citizens, regardless of their creed," warned at the time Christian Solidarity Worldwide's Chief Executive Mervyn Thomas, who said that Iran criminalizes Christian practice.