Persecution Article

Hungary could save Iranian Christian actress facing deportation from Sweden

On Aug 17, 2017 03:05 PM EDT
(REUTERS / Laszlo Balogh)The Hungarian national flag flies on the building of the National Bank of Hungary in Budapest January 10, 2013.

Aideen Strandsson, an Iranian actress who left Islam and embraced Christianity after dreaming about Jesus, flew to Sweden in 2014 using a work visa and submitted to baptism. She received a lot of threats from Muslim communities after what she did and had already appealed to Sweden for asylum, but the European country rejected her request and passed her case on to the Swedish border police.

After the Christian Broadcasting Network News published her story, a lot of people contacted the Swedish Migration Agency. Nevertheless, a migration official told the publication that the public's reaction to Strandsson's possible deportation will not change their decision.

Meanwhile, Hungary took notice of Strandsson's situation and announced that it is willing to extend help to her if she seeks asylum from the Hungarian government. The statement also explained that the process of granting refugee status to the Christian actress involves national security screening. However, Hungary assured people that it does not send back people to a country where their lives could be put in danger, CBN relayed.

"...(W)e provide help for genuine refugees, those whose lives are in direct danger on account of their religion, nationality or political affiliation," the Hungarian government added. "Taking in persecuted Christians is our moral and constitutional duty all at once."

Strandsson is not the only Christian woman who has gotten in legal trouble with Iran because of her faith. Maryam Naghash Zargaran, also another convert from Islam, was sentenced in 2013 to four years in jail. She was charged with "propagating against the Islamic regime and collusion intended to harm national security," but the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom announced her release on Aug. 10.

USCIRF commissioner Clifford D. May said Zargaran had suffered while in prison and was withheld proper medical treatment for her illnesses. He added that this case shows how the Iranian government criminalizes local Christians' practice of their faith.

Commissioner May took up Ms. Zargaran's case as part of USCIRF's Religious Prisoners of Conscience Project. Through this project, Commissioners work for the release of individuals who have been imprisoned for their religious beliefs, practices, advocacy, or identity and highlight the laws and policies that led to their imprisonment.



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