A last-ditch attempt to stop the deportation of an Iranian Christian has been rejected by Associate Immigration Minister Shane Jones.Not only can apostasy be punished by death in Iran, but they are considering making it the mandatory punishment. From the Christian Post last February:
Mr Jones will not overrule an Immigration New Zealand decision to deport 25-year-old Birkenhead resident Bahareh Moradi.
His decision writes off the last chance Miss Moradi had to stay in New Zealand.
Her three brothers live in New Zealand. All have refugee status.
The Moradi family had applied for the deportation to be put on hold until after a High Court judicial review of Miss Moradi’s case in July.
That request was turned down by the High Court in March.
As the North Shore Times went to print, Miss Moradi was waiting to be sent to Iran by immigration officials.
It is feared going back to Iran could be dangerous because she has become a Christian.
Under Sharia law, converting from Islam to Christianity is a sin and can be punished by death.
The Iranian parliament is reviewing a new law that would impose a death penalty on citizens who leave Islam, a human rights group alerted recently.It appears that New Zealand questioned the sincerity of her conversion. She can only hope now that Iran is equally skeptical.
In the past, the death penalty for apostasy was one of many possible punishments, including imprisonment and hard labor, for renouncing Islam, But the new law proposes to make death the sentence for all apostates, according to the Institute on Religion and Public Policy (IRPP).
“This is not something new, they just want to be more harsh towards those who are leaving Islam,” an Iranian pastor told the persecution watchdog Compass.
The death sentence was approved by the Iranian Cabinet a month ago, and appears to have the needed parliamentary support to pass, according to an Iranian Christian.
Many victims of the “apostasy” law are Muslims who convert to Christianity, but victims also include liberal thinkers and members of Iran’s Baha’i religious minority.