Pastor Victor Bet-Tamraz and his wife Shamiram Issavi, who are ethnic Assyrian Christians, and Amin Afshar Naderi and Hadi Asgari, who are Christian converts from Islam, were sentenced to a combined total of 45 years in prison for allegedly conducting “illegal church activities” and spreading propaganda which reportedly “threaten national security.”
In 2014, Pastor Victor Bet-Tamraz was arrested when plain-clothed security forces raided his home during a Christmas party. In 2017, an Iranian Revolutionary Court sentenced him, along with Hadi Asgari, to 10 years in prison for “forming a group composed of more than two people with the purpose of disrupting national security” in relation to their church activities. The same court sentenced Amin Afshar Naderi to five years in prison for allegedly insulting Islam.
In January 2018, Branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court in Tehran sentenced Shamiram Issavi to five years in prison for “membership of a group with the purpose of disrupting national security” and another five years in prison for “gathering and colluding to commit crimes against national security.”
Iran, which is overwhelmingly Muslim, has a constitution that has restricted freedoms for non-Muslim citizens.
“Consequently, Christians in Iran have been a target of harassment, arbitrary arrest and detention, unfair trials, and imprisonment on national security-related charges solely because of their faith,” Amnesty International said in a statement. “In the past year alone, dozens of Christians, mostly Christian converts, have been targeted.”
The four Christians, who are currently free on bail, are awaiting the verdict of their appeal court.
Source: CBN News
- Pray our heavenly Father will uphold these believers as they face a difficult and uncertain future. Ask Him to help them to be strong and not fearful.
- Ask the Lord to grant them favour in their appeal.
- Pray the church in Iran will continue to grow in love for the Lord and faithfulness to Him as they reach out to their fellow countrymen.