Select Page
IRAN: Term of Exile Increased for Christian Convert

IRAN: Term of Exile Increased for Christian Convert

Iranian Christians request prayer for Christian convert Ebrahim Firouzi who has had his period of exile extended by eleven months.

In November 2019, after completing a five-year prison sentence on charges of “acting against national security”, Ebrahim started serving a two-year period of exile in Sarbaz, near the border with Pakistan in relation to a one-year prison sentence received in 2014 for “propaganda against the Islamic Republic”.

In December 2019 Ebrahim requested leave from Sarbaz to sort out family affairs in Hamedan. After waiting several days and receiving no response, he went ahead with his trip.

On 12 March, Ebrahim was notified that his exile had been extended by eight months for violating its terms, and an additional three months for failing to appear for a daily check-in. Ebrahim has been given no opportunity to appeal the decision.

The notification included false information about Ebrahim’s case, claiming he had been convicted of “cyber-spying” (a charge he never faced) and “propaganda against Islam” (a charge of which he was acquitted).

In a statement given to Articles 18, Ebrahim said, “The court has given a final verdict, without giving me an opportunity to explain or to defend myself, and uses charges against me which are either unrelated, or I’ve been acquitted of. Therefore, I have decided to take this matter to the media, to demand an explanation, and make my voice heard, as this is an example of a miscarriage of justice by the Iranian judiciary.”

Shortly after Ebrahim started the term of exile, he gave an interview about how he came to faith and his experience in prison. The English version can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fdh8kQYUUFk&feature=youtu.be

Source: Middle East Concern

  • Pray that Ebrahim will not be discouraged by the decision to extend his term of exile in Sarbaz.
  • Pray the publicity of the case will highlight judicial inconsistencies in the decision and bring change.
  • Pray the Lord will make the period of exile in Sarbaz a time of blessing for Ebrahim and use him to bless others.

Post your prayer in the comments below.

KAZAKHSTAN: Three Pastors Sentenced

KAZAKHSTAN: Three Pastors Sentenced

Three self-exiled pastors have been sentenced to terms up to five years for leading the New Life Pentecostal Church in the city of Almaty. The sentences were announced on 1 November, when the court rejected their latest appeal. The founding pastor, Maxim Maximov, faces five years in prison, while his wife Larisa, and ministry colleague Sergei Zaikin, each face four years. All three pastors intend to appeal the conviction at the Supreme Court.

The charges involve “causing psychological harm”, as well as alleged involvement in illegal associations. In at least one case, however, the time frame for the accusation was before the victim was even born. The three pastors have fled the country and are presently living in the United States, though they would like to return to their homeland.

The New Life Church was originally founded in 1991 under the former Soviet Union and officially registered in 2012. Despite its legal status, the church has faced repeated attacks by the state-controlled media over the past few years. Though all charges were against the three individuals, five properties belonging to their church – including the main worship building – have been confiscated and placed under a restraining order.

Some governing authorities have offered alternatives to resolve the issues. In November 2018, another church leader, Pastor Ivan Kryukov, was approached by police who suggested that all these legal problems could be dismissed if the church gave monetary compensation. A few months later, the church leaders were told that their collaboration with the secret police would settle any issues. Offers like these have been declined by the pastoral team due to the injustice of their situation.

Source: Forum 18

  • Intercede for these three exiled church leaders as they spend extended time away from their homes and church. Pray that the courts will provide a just and reasonable ruling.
  • Pray the congregation members find ways of meeting together for worship and encouragement.
  • Ask God to grant wisdom and courage to church leaders in Kazakhstan as they deal with the authorities.

Post your prayer in the comments below.

IRAN: Ebrahim Firouzi Released from Prison

IRAN: Ebrahim Firouzi Released from Prison

Ebrahim Firouzi was released from Rajaei Shahr prison on 26 October. He will now serve two years’ internal exile in the city of Sarbaz, near the border with Pakistan.

The prison warden wanted to send Ebrahim directly to exile, but he was allowed temporary release to sort out personal affairs, including retrieving personal documents still held by Iranian intelligence.

In August 2013, Ebrahim Firouzi was arrested with two others and taken to Evin prison, Tehran, and later transferred to Rajaei Shahr prison in Karaj. He was sentenced to one year in prison and two years of exile to Sarbaz, on charges of “propaganda against the Islamic Republic”, “launching and directing evangelism” and “running a Christian website”.

After serving the one-year prison sentence and expecting to be released, Ebrahim was retried in March 2015 and convicted of “actions against national security”, “being present at an illegal gathering” and “collusion with foreign entities”. He was sentenced to an additional five years in prison. Sadly, in December 2018, while Ebrahim was still in prison, his mother died from cancer and Ebrahim was not permitted to attend her funeral.

Ebrahim says he is in good health and has been very happy to receive calls from friends. He requests prayer for a friend in prison with urgent needs. He also requests prayer for himself, especially for patience when he becomes angry.

Sources: The Voice of the Martyrs USA, Middle East Concern

  • Thank the Lord for Ebrahim’s release. Pray God will continue to strengthen him as he starts his time in exile. Pray the Lord will provide all his needs.
  • Join with Ebrahim as he prays for his friend and for himself.
  • Pray for the church in Iran. May the Lord continue to grant the believers courage to share their faith, even though there is great risk.

Post your prayer in the comments below.