A Christian father, sentenced to death in Iran, risks being expelled from France

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Ata Fathimaharlooei converted to Christianity in Iran, a country he left with his family following his death sentence. However, the French authorities refused him asylum, believing that the sincerity of his faith could not be proven. The father of two children is now threatened with deportation. 

Sentenced to death in Iran, Ata Fathimaharlooei fled his country with his wife. It was in exile that the two children of this Christian couple were born. In France, where they took refuge, their request for asylum was rejected by the government which considers that it is not possible to prove the sincerity of their faith. 

The CitizenGo organization launched a petition to denounce this situation which she considers "inhumane" and call on the Minister of the Interior, Gérald Darmanin to reverse his decision. 

"Ata and his family are caught in a horrible in-between, their asylum application having been rejected on the grounds that their conversion might not be real. Yet Ata goes to church, and both he and his wife are nurses, a profession in high demand in France. A country renowned for its ideals of freedom and equality threatens to separate a father from his family and send him back to Iran where he risks certain death for his faith."

“The case of Ata and his family is compelling. They face religious persecution in Iran for their conversion to Christianity. In Iran, Ata has lost all his rights, his property, and his life is directly threatened,” proclaims the organization for the defense of religious minorities stressing that "refusing their asylum contradicts France's historic role as a refuge for the persecuted and risks endorsing the oppressive Iranian regime."

Iran is ranked 9th in theGlobal Index of Persecution of Christians from the NGO Portes Ouvertes. The organization indicates in particular that 'life in the Islamic Republic continues to be difficult for believers; converts attend clandestine churches at incredible risk.”

Last year we shared with you the testimony of Dabrina Bet-Tamraz, Iranian evangelical pastor who has taken refuge in Switzerland for more than 10 years. She told us about the very difficult situation of Christians in her country. 

Camille Westphal Perrier


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