Iranian authorities last week arrested Fatemeh Mohammadi, a woman who converted to Christianity, and was transported to a secret location.
The Persian-language news agency HRANA first reported on Mohammadi’s arrest.
According to the website Article 18, which seeks to promote religious freedom, “The 21-year-old, who after her conversion now prefers to be known as Mary, was reportedly arrested on Sunday near Azadi Square, where protests were taking place following the Iranian government’s admission of guilt in the downing of a Ukrainian passenger plane.”
Article 18 said, “A number of protesters were reportedly arrested on Sunday evening, as protests took place in several Iranian cities, though it is as yet unclear whether Mary was partaking in any demonstration. There has since been no news of Mary’s safety or whereabouts and her family are said to be very concerned about her.”
In a series of tweets published on her day of arrest, Mary wrote the Iranian people were facing “soft repression” through being spoon-fed only news that the regime wanted them to read. She used Twitter hashtags that mean “hard-pressed” and “suppression is the norm.”
Article 18 noted that Mary wrote that confronting “soft repression” is even harder than tackling the “hard repression” of batons and tear gas, and said the Iranian regime is “institutionalizing false beliefs through selective coverage of the news,” and “lies that are bigger and more repetitive make them more believable.”
Article 18 wrote, “Mary is a rare example of a Christian activist still living in Iran and she has already spent six months in prison as a result of her Christian activity, which was deemed ‘action against national security’ and ‘propaganda against the system.’”
The Iranian authorities charged Mary last year with failing to properly wear her hijab. The charges were eventually dropped. She had initially filed a complaint with the police regarding assault, and the authorities responded with charging her with an alleged violation of Iran’s dress code for women.
The religious freedom organization said, “Mary is active on social media and just a day before being kicked out of university tweeted about the cases of 10 fellow Christian converts currently in prison in Iran as a result of their peaceful religious activities.
”Mary has tweeted about the ‘sentencing of nine converts in Rasht to five years in prison and the one-year sentence given to a 61-year-old fellow woman convert in Karaj, the sister city to Mary’s home city of Tehran,’” wrote Article 18.
“Christmas is fast approaching, and security officials are lurking behind Christians,” Mary wrote in Persian in a tweet linked to a video recorded by 61-year-old Rokhsareh Ghanbari, taken prior to her assuming her prison sentence.