Christian Convert Sentenced to Two Years in Prison in Iran

An Iranian Revolutionary Court sentenced Iranian Christian convert Leila Mohammadi to two years in prison earlier this month.

Mohammadi's trial was held on Jan. 18, and the court charged the young woman with "collaboration with foreign-dependent groups, broad propaganda, deceiving citizens by formation of what is called a house church, insulting sacred figures, and actions against national security."

Mohammadi was arrested on July 30, 2011 when Iranian police officials stormed her home located in east Tehran, confiscated her belongings, and threw her in solitary confinement at Tehran's infamous Evin prison.

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Evin is known for its harsh treatment of female inmates and Mohammadi spent five months behind bars prior to being released on $150,000 bail.

The news of Mohammadi comes as other reports have suggested that persecution in Iran is on the rise. Iran ranks No. 5 on Open Doors World Watch List for 2012.

Christians in Iran generally gather at house churches, but they are increasingly being discovered and feeling increased pressure from Iranian authorities to close.

"Over the last few months they have made a really strong attempt to undermine what's going on in the house church movement. They are tearing apart meeting places. If they find out somebody has been involved in a house church group they are arrested or really intimidated," Michael Wood of Open Doors USA told The Christian Post back in September.

Open Doors estimates that there are 350,000 Christians of Muslim decent living in Iran. Despite the fact that officials are increasing their resolve to dispose of Christianity in the country, the number of house church members continues to grow.

Almost all activity related to Christianity in the country is illegal and in 2011 more than 200 Christians were arrested and detained by Iranian authorities.

The Iranian government technically tolerates ethnic Christians but both longtime believers and new converts face imprisonment, torture and death at the hands of the country's strict authorities.

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