Finding Faith in an Iranian Prison

In January 1982, Marina Nemat, then just sixteen years old, was arrested, tortured, and sentenced to death for political crimes.

Until then, her life in Tehran had centered around school, summer parties at the lake, and her crush on Andre, the young man she had met at church.

But when math and history were subordinated to the study of the Koran and political propaganda, Marina protested. Her teacher replied, “If you don’t like it, leave.” She did, and, to her surprise, other students followed. Soon she was arrested with hundreds of other youths who had dared to speak out, and they were taken to the notorious Evin prison in Tehran. Two guards interrogated her. One beat her into unconsciousness; the other, Ali, fell in love with her. Sentenced to death for refusing to give up the names of her friends, she was minutes from being executed when Ali, using his family connections to Ayatollah Khomeini, plucked her from the firing squad and had her sentence reduced to life in prison.

But he exacted a shocking price for saving her life — with a dizzying combination of terror and tenderness, he asked her to marry him and abandon her Christian faith for Islam. If she didn’t, he would see to it that her family was harmed.

She spent the next two years as a prisoner of the state, and of the man who held her life, and her family’s lives, in his hands. Her search for emotional redemption envelops her jailers, her husband and his family, and the country of her birth — each of whom she grants the greatest gift of all: forgiveness.

3 thoughts on “Finding Faith in an Iranian Prison

  1. We are in an everlasting covenant with the God of the Universe. Take heart in that! The LORD loves justice and hates all wrong (evil)! He offers recompense and He will deliver recompense–count on it! (Isaiah 61:8)


  2. Why God, did she have to go to prison to suffer–a broken wrist and so much more? For the sake of Christ she gave. What do I give? “anointed me to bring good news to the poor…” this tiny Iranian sister was anointed to bring good news to the poor. So have I. “I called you to proclaim liberty to the captives.

    This is the year of the Lord’s favor and His vengeance . “Vengeance is mine–I will repay” He said (verse 2). That means He will repay the Iranian guards and He will give a forever home to this sweet “teller of His Good News.”

    She gets comfort, a beautiful headdress, oil of gladness and the garment of praise. She has become an oak of righteousness–that He may be glorified!

    The “poor” become the creative restorers of the sad situations that man has lived with so long. The new culture of life in the city of God will thrive forever!

    Isaiah 61:8 He is our just judge because He loves justice!!! He invented justice and without His Word–the Bible, there is no justice on earth!


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