Ismaeil Maghrebinejad, a 65 year old convert from a muslim
background, has been sentenced to three years in prison for insulting ‘Islamic
sacred beliefs’. He also faces charges of acting against
Ismaeil like other
Iranian believers have suffered repeated harassment from the government and
wider society. About ten years ago
Ismaeil was attacked and narrowly survived.
Please pray for Ismaeil
and his family that they would know God’s comfort and help at this time and
that these charges against him would be dropped: ‘God is our refuge and
strength, a very present help in trouble’.
In Iran it seems there is a ‘forced exodus of Christians as the government acts to exterminate the Persian speaking church.’
Officials aim to
eradicate Christianity from the land by arresting house church leaders who are
involved in teaching and evangelism.
Reports have shown that often ‘when a muslim is baptised as a Christian
they can spend up to a year in prison while the person conducting the baptism
can face up to five years imprisonment.’
Many believers have
sought asylum in the West but have frequently been refused. In spite of this, Christianity is growing.
In 2015 a group of Christian converts were arrested in Busheher city, a port in southwest Iran. A case has recently been opened again regarding twelve who have been arrested for forming house churches.
Amongst those arrested were Shapur Jozi and his wife Parastoo Zariftash accused of promoting propaganda against the Iranian Regime. Their case is currently under review, please pray for them during this difficult time.
Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani has been detained in Evin prison following a violent raid on his home in Rasht by police on 22nd July. Christian Solidarity Worldwide reported that ‘police smashed the front door, punched the pastor and his teenaged son Daniel, and used electrical batons on them despite the fact that they were offering no resistance’.
The pastor was at home on bail awaiting a summons to return to prison following the failure in May of an appeal against his conviction and that of four fellow church members.
Pray that God would protect and strengthen them and their families and that the Government would be led to protect the freedom of religion to Christians: ‘This is my comfort in my affliction. For your word has given me life’ Ps 119v50.’
Christian Solidarity Worldwide has reported that Mohammadali Yassaghi an Iranian Christian was released from prison on 25th June. The verdict was delivered at a court hearing where the presiding judge dismissed the charges against him.
Mohammadali was arrested on 10th April 2018: the ’52-year-old father of three was accused of spreading propaganda against the establishment’.
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.