Persecuted Assyrian Christian Dabrina Bet Tamraz who was attending the State Department’s second Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom last week in Washington, DC, described the ongoing persecution she and her family are enduring for being Christians.
Addressing members of the media July 17 Bet Tamraz said:
“I was born in an Assyrian Christian family, my parents were pastors and church pioneers. Growing up Christian in Iran we experienced different sorts of harassment and persecution. When I was eight years old many pastors were imprisoned and killed. I remember my father traveling … to be able to get the bodies or corpses of pastors in order to bury them.”
“Persecution and [lack of] religious freedom was a normal thing for us growing up,” she said. “To be honest at times we didn’t even feel different. We didn’t even know what it means to be free until I lived in a European country. In 2009 our church was shut down by the Iran Ministry Interior. In the same year I was arrested and I was detained in a men’s detention center without any female officer being present. I was able to escape after my release. Shortly after, my father was arrested during a Christmas celebration in December 2014. He was detained. He was put in solitary confinement for 65 days in a 3-by-6-foot room. … In 2016 my brother was arrested during a picnic gathering. In 2017 my mother was arrested.”
“Today my father is appealing a 10-year prison sentence, my mother is appealing a 5-to-10-year prison sentence, … and we are awaiting the rest of [my brother’s] sentence,” she said. “I am here today on behalf of my family—and not only my family—but also on behalf of many other Assyrian, Iranian Christians and Christian converts who are serving lengthy prison sentences or awaiting trials. They have no voice to be heard. They have no rights in our country, so I’m standing here today to raise awareness and [share] information about persecuted Christians.”