News from Europe

France denies asylum to Iranians sentenced to death for Christian conversion

An Iranian couple in their thirties had to flee their country after the father converted to Christianity. L’Indépendant tells Their tragic story. Ata Fathimaharloei married Somayeh Hajifoghaz in 2017. Both work in a hospital. The man is not a practising Muslim. He says he was flogged and received "corporal punishment" in a year when he did not attend Ramadan.


At the end of 2017  everything changed. He sympathised with his family who are Christian. His colleague denounced him, he was fired from his job and his pregnant wife asked her father for help.

The couple was then forced into exile in Turkey before attempting to reach Europe. After adventures with a fake smuggler who extracted money from them, the two Iranians then landed in Ukraine, before returning to Turkey and following the long journey of a migrant family. The trip  took them through Greece, Bosnia, Croatia, and Italy, before arriving to France, and then Perpigna.

The situation could have improved for them, if at the same time Iran had not sentenced them to the death penalty. The man,  for apostasy because he “denied the Islamic religion”, the woman for adultery. Since then, their lawyer has denounced the French jurisdiction since the Iranian couple had already filed an asylum application in 2018.


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