IRAN: Two Pastors Face New Charges

18 July 2023

Source: Middle East Concern

Friends of Yousef Nadarkhani and Abdolreza (Matthias) Haghnejad request prayer after the men were informed, they were required to go to court on unspecified security charges. Two members of the same religious movement made a complaint about them to the Iranian authorities.

On 9 July, Matthias was transferred to a prison in Minab in south Iran in conjunction with a six-year prison sentence originally handed down in 2012. The sentence had been successfully appealed in 2014 but was reinstated in 2020. Matthias was arrested in January 2023 to start serving the prison sentence in his hometown of Bandar Anzali. Matthias was denied the opportunity to say goodbye to his wife and daughter before being transferred more than 1,600 kilometres to the new location.

In 2017 Yousef Nadarkhani was sentenced to 10 years in prison plus two years of internal exile in the south of Iran for “acting against the national security through propagating house churches and promoting Zionist Christianity.” The sentence was later reduced on review. Yousef was pardoned in February 2023, but the pardon excluded the term of exile, which is still to be executed.

Recently, Ramin Hassanpour and Saeede Sajadpour, a married couple from the Church of Iran movement, who had also spent time in prison on account of their Christian activities, made an official complaint against Yousef and Matthias, leading to their prosecution under new, as yet unspecified, charges. Friends believe that the complaint was made under duress.

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    Pray for them

    Ask God to strengthen and encourage Matthias, Yousef and their families. Pray for the release of these two men.

    Pray for Ramin and Saeede as they consider the consequences of their complaint, and ask the Lord to guide and strengthen them.

    Pray for the continued growth of the church in Iran.

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