The men have appealed against the sentence but if their appeal fails they will receive 80 lashes each.
The lawyer for Yaser Mosibzadeh, Saheb Fadayee and Mohammad Reza Omidi attended a hearing on Thursday during which they made their appeal against the brutal sentence handed down in September. The verdict is expected within 20 days.
The three men were arrested in Rasht in May as they celebrated communion. Their lawyer insists it is not illegal in Iran for Christians to drink wine, only Muslims. The three men have a Muslim background.
The three have also been charged with “acting against national security”. Iranian officials have threatened further charges if the men meet together or share the Gospel with others.
Meanwhile, Christian converts Amin Nader Afshar and Hadi Askary have gone on hunger strike inside Tehran’s Evin Prison unless they receive adequate medical care and a fair trial soon. Hadi is reported to have a kidney infection which has not been treated.
They have been behind bars since their arrest last August, at a picnic in Firuzkuh, but have not yet been charged, despite weeks of interrogation. The other three men arrested with them posted substantial bail and were released.
Sources: Release International, Middle East Concern
- Pray the appeal judge will scrap the earlier sentence against Yaser, Saheb and Mohammad. Pray no other charges will be brought against them.
- Pray that God will protect and heal Amin and Hadi. Amin’s hunger strike has caused his blood pressure to drop dramatically. Pray that they and their three friends will be tried and acquitted soon.
- Pray that every Christian behind bars in Iran will know that God will prove wrong every false word spoken against them (Isaiah 54:17).