The Court of appeal was held for a Christian prisoner named Ebrahim Firouzi last year on 11th December, 2016,’ and the initial sentence of five years of prison was re-affirmed. Ebrahim is due for release from jail in January 2020.’
Ebrahim, a Christian convert who has been held in Rajai Shahr prison, was refused permission for special leave during the Persian New Year’s holiday. ‘He has been in this situation in prison for about four years and has not been given permission for temporary leave even for a single day.’
As a result of his prison sentence he has been refused medical leave which has caused him to suffer both physically and mentally. At present, he has an elderly and ill mother who is now been suffering from cancer for over a year and Ebrahim’s younger brother has been caring for his mother. As his mother is currently receiving medical treatment and due to her frailty she has been unable to visit Ebrahim in prison.
However Ebrahim is due to be released in 2020. After release from prison ‘he will be exiled to Sarbaz township, one of the most deprived and disadvantaged areas of the Sistan-Baluchestan province.’
Please continue to pray for Ebrahim that God would strengthen and sustain him and allow him to receive medical treatment and subsequently be released in God’s time. Pray also for his family especially his mother: ‘He gives strength to the weary and to him who has no might he increases power’.
A mother and her son have been arrested in Iran just months after being baptised.
‘Veronika and her son Augustine were arrested in Urmia, northwest Iran, on February 20 and haven’t been seen since.’
‘Veronika and Augustine, who were baptised in Istanbul last August, were detained after Revolutionary Guard intelligence officials raided their home last month and discovered Christian books and materials.’
Following their arrest, officials have not declared any information on their whereabouts or future. ‘Friends believe they are being held at the intelligence building of the Revolutionary Guards, where information about detainees is not given.’
Pray that Veronika and Augustine would know God’s strength and comfort in their trials and that their faith would remain strong in the face of adversity: ‘this is the victory that has overcome the world-our continuing, persistent faith in Jesus the Son of God’. Pray that release would come and that God would also strengthen the many believers in Iran.
Sahat, a Christian living in Tajkistan who was arrested after sharing the Bible with a member of the security services, has been released.
However, Sahat is still having difficulties. His laptop and flashcard containing Christian materials and some printed Christians materials have been confiscated, and are currently being examined by the security services. They may find further reasons to imprison him again, along with other Christians he knows.
On Sunday 19 February’ officers from the security services visited church services in two towns in Tajikistan’. They appeared to be guests, but filmed the services and took photos. Children and teenagers were present at the church service, ‘which is prohibited by Tajik legislation – the involvement of children and teenagers in religious events is prohibited until the age of 18.’
As a result, ‘criminal investigations into both churches have begun and church activities have been suspended until the investigations finish. All the members of the churches are questioned every day.
In the town of one of these churches, a Christian called Akhmed* was severely beaten by a group saying, “You should visit mosque, not the church.”’
Please pray for Sahat and other Christian believers that God would strengthen and protect them. Pray also for Akhmed that he would recover from his injuries. Continue to pray for the churches that are currently being investigated that no charges would be incurred and pray for God’s hand of protection to be upon the believers: ‘He rescued us from so great a threat of death, and will continue to rescue us. On him we have set our hope. And he will again rescue us’.