Iranian Christians rejoice in a positive development in the case of Farshid Fathi, in prison since December 2010, who has been informed that he is due for early release. Farshid was among 22 believers arrested in Tehran on 26 December 2010 as part of a wider wave of arrests. By the end of April 2011 all had been released except Farshid.
In April 2012, Farshid was sentenced to six years’ imprisonment, charged with “acting against national security through membership of a Christian organisation, collection of funds, and propaganda against the Islamic Regime by helping spread Christianity in the country.”
Originally held in Evin Prison, Farshid was transferred to Rajai Shahr Prison in Karaj in August 2014. An additional year was added to his sentence following claims by the authorities that alcohol had been discovered during a raid on Evin Prison in April 2014. On 4 July, prison authorities in Rajai Shahr notified Farshid in writing that he is due for early release in December 2015 (rather than December 2017 if he were to serve his full sentence). There have also been developments in other cases. Pastor Behnam Irani, serving a six year sentence since April 2010, has been allowed a 15-day furlough from Ghezal Hesar prison on payment of bail equivalent to $50,000.
Eskandar Rezai and Bijan Haghighi, members of a fellowship raided in Shiraz in October 2012, have been summoned to serve their sentences.
Along with five others, Eskandar and Bijan were given sentences ranging from one to six years for crimes of “action against national security” and “propaganda against the order of the system.” In 2014 the other five were summoned to serve their sentences in Shiraz, but Eskandar and Bijan remained free on bail. Following the recent summons, Eskandar is now in Adelabad Prison, Shiraz, serving a one year sentence, and Bijan will soon start serving a three year prison sentence.
Source: Middle East Concern
- Thank the Lord for the answered prayer for Farshi’s early release, pray the Iranian authorities will stand by their commitment.
- Pray the Lord will open further opportunities to share the Gospel with others during these last months of imprisonment.
- Pray prisoners in Iran will be treated with respect and dignity. Pray Behnam, Eskandar and Bijan and their associates will be strengthened by the Lord and soon released.