Ten year sentences which were handed down to Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani, Mohammadreza Omidi, Yasser Mossayebzadeh and Saheb Fadaie in July 2017 have been upheld upon appeal. They were charged with acting against national security.
Christian Solidarity Worldwide have reported this update and we pray that God would strengthen them and in his time would enable them to be released: But I have trusted in your mercy; My heart shall rejoice in your salvation.
An Iranian Christian convert named Hadi Asgari aged forty who was convicted of acting against national security ‘through evangelism and sentenced to ten years imprisonment and a two-year ban from departing the country’ has been denied bail.
His family worked tirelessly to attempt to enable him to be released for Persian New Year, but this was denied, and officials decided to review his case after the New Year.
Pray that he and his family would know God’s presence and strength at this difficult time. ‘Even though I am afflicted and needy. Still the Lord takes thought and is mindful of me’.
A Christian prisoner named Naser Navard Goltapeh was arrested in 2016 with three Azerbaijani believers and sentenced to ten years imprisonment for ‘acting against national security and establishing house churches.’ His family are concerned about his health and believes he needs urgent medical treatment for an infection.
His appeal was rejected in court in November 2017. Please pray that God would strengthen him and the other prisoners and that in God’s time they would be released and enabled to receive medical treatment.
Please pray for Victor Bet-Tamraz, Amin Afshar-Naderi, Kaviyan Fallah-Mohammadi and Hadi Asgari who were all given heavy jail sentences last year in Iran for offences connected to ‘evangelism and acting against national security.’
Records highlight that between May and November 2017, twenty one Christians were sentenced in Iran for extensive periods of time.
In addition, four Christians were arrested in October in south west Iran. One remains in custody and has been transferred to a prison around ninety miles away.
Please pray for strength and ultimately for their release and that God would be their sustaining strength: for which I am suffering even to the point of being chained like a criminal. But God’s Word is not chained’.
A Christian convert arrested last December in Tabriz is still being held without charge. ‘ Ali Amini was arrested when authorities sentenced him while in work.’ They confiscated his laptops and phone, searching for Christian material.
Ali is married and has two young children, one aged three and the other one year old. Please pray that God would strengthen and sustain him and his family during this difficult time: ‘Bring me out of prison, that I may give thanks to your name! The righteous will surround me, for you will deal bountifully with me’: Ps 142v7.
Four imprisoned Christians in Iran have appealed their sentences in Tehran. These men are named Yousef Nadarkhani, Mohammadreza Omidi, Yasser Mossayebzadeh and Saheb Fadaje. They are appealing a ten year sentence given to each for promoting house churches.
In addition to this ‘Yousef and Mohammadreza have also been sentenced to 2 years’ exile; Yousef in Nik Shahr and Mohammadreza in Borazjan’
Please pray that the sentencing would be acquitted and these four men would be released. Pray for freedom of worship for believers in Iran and that even officials may come to know Christ also.
An appeal by Pastor Bahrom Holmatov against his three-year prison sentence has been rejected. The pastor and father of three was’ arrested in April and later sentenced for ‘singing extremist songs in church and so inciting religious hatred’. He now faces the three-year prison term for nothing more than exercising his right to believe.’
“Don’t worry about me, please. Just keep praying for me and my family,” declared Pastor Bahrom.
Pray that he would be strengthened in his faith and he would remain physically strong.
Pray that he would be a great witness to the truth of Christ during his imprisonment.
After four years of imprisonment relating to charges of acting against national security, Maryam Naghash Zargaran has been released from Evin prison. She was released on 1st August.
Maryam, aged thirty nine, a convert from Islam, was ‘first questioned by intelligence officers in January 2010 because of her work with underground churches’. She was arrested in January 2013, alongside Iranian-American pastor Saeed Abedini, in connection with their work at an orphanage and both were sentenced a few months later.
While in prison Maryam was harassed and consistently denied medical treatment for longstanding medical issues. Maryam received heart surgery ten years ago and requires regular checkups. ‘Amnesty International referenced her case when it accused Iran of ‘cruel’ denial of medical care in its prisons.’
On seldom occasions Maryam was granted short term release to receive health checkups and was ordered to return soon after. She also endured many hunger strikes while in prison and her health often deteriorated.
Please pray that Maryam will return to full health and continue to remember many Iranian Christians including Amin Afshar Naderi currently out on bail and for Ebrahim Firouzi who is currently on hunger strike while in prison. Pray that they would know courage and strength and would know God’s daily faithfulness: ‘O LORD You have heard the desire of the humble and oppressed: You will strengthen their heart. You will incline your ear to hear’.
Three Iranian Christians including a pastor along with his son have received long term prison sentences for crimes such as ‘organising and creating house churches’, ‘conducting evangelism’, and ‘Bible printing and distribution. Their lawyer will appeal against the court’s decision this week.
Yousef Nadarkhani, Mohammadreza Omidi, Yasser Mossayebzadeh and Saheb Fadaie are currently awaiting the outcome of an appeal against a sentence of 80 lashes each. They have been accused of acting unlawfully and consumption of alcohol because they drank communion wine. They have appealed against the sentence of 80 lashes and await a final verdict.
According to Middle East Concern, ‘The situation of religious minorities has deteriorated in recent years, including during the tenure of President Hassan Rouhani. Scores of Iranian pastors are languishing in prisons solely for their beliefs.’
Young Iranians Christians face terrible pressure and difficulties. Many can’t even obtain a Bible. Also, it is very difficult to meet with other believers.
‘Iran is currently number eight on the Open Doors 2017 World Watch List of the fifty countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian. At least 193 Christians were arrested or imprisoned in Iran in 2016, many of them converts from Islam.’
Please pray for our persecuted brothers and sisters in Iran. Pray that the prisoners and families will have strength to endure suffering and courage to press on as believers in Christ. Pray that justice would prevail: ‘God makes a home for the lonely; He leads the prisoners into prosperity’ Psalm 68v6.
‘The status of two Christian converts detained in Urmia is still unknown and security agencies have refused to answer about their fate.’
Over three months ago, two Christian converts of Persian descent were detained. ‘They were identified as: “Anousheh (Veronica) Rea-bakhsh” and her son “Sohail (Augustine) Zagarzadeh Sani” and detained in Urumia a Turkic-speaking city located in the Western Azerbaijan province in northwestern Iran.’ Since their arrest, there have been no further updates on their situation.
They were arrested on 20 February 2017 by men dressed in plain clothes believed to be Urmia Revolutionary Guards who invaded their home and placed them under arrest in an unknown location.
“Soheil Zargarzadeh Sani” is a psychology university student in his senior year. ‘Eye-witnesses told Mohabat News that a group of intelligence officers raided their home and confiscated their books, including their Bibles and some books on Christian theology.’
Please pray that God would strengthen them and protect them at this time of imprisonment.