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Iran: Four Christians due to appear in court
03 October 2016
Iranian Christians are requesting prayer for four Christians who are due to appear in Rasht Revolutionary Court on 15 October. They are charged with 'actions against national security'.
On 13 May, security agents raided the home of Youcef Nadarkhani - a church leader who attracted international attention after he was charged with apostasy and sentenced to death in 2010. (He was eventually acquitted of apostasy charges, but was sentenced to three years' imprisonment for evangelising. He was released on 7 December 2013.)
Following the raid in May, Youcef and his wife, Tina, were arrested along with Yasser Mossayebzadeh, Saheb Fadaie and Mohammad Reza Omidi. Middle East Concern reported that their phones, computers and Christian literature that they possessed were confiscated.
Youcef and Tina were released later that day, but Yasser, Saheb and Mohammad Reza were detained and interrogated for several weeks before being released on bail.
Youcef, Yasser, Saheb and Mohammad Reza were charged with acting against national security - a common charge levelled against Christian converts who are recognised as having leadership responsibilities in the Christian community.
In addition, Yaser, Saheb and Mohammad Reza faced charges related to consumption of alcohol, for drinking wine during a communion service. They had a hearing on 10 September, but a verdict has yet to be given. If found guilty, they are likely to receive a sentence of flogging (Mohammed Reza received 80 lashes for the same offence in 2012).
Drinking alcohol is not illegal for Christians, but under applicable Islamic law it is prohibited for Muslims. The charges brought against Christian converts reflect the state view that a Muslim cannot change religion.
Source: Middle East Concern
- That God would be with the men during this trial and that they will be acquitted of all charges
- That the judges and other court officials will love mercy and act justly
- That the money submitted for their bail will be safely returned
- That God will strengthen and encourage faithful Christians in Iran to withstand persecution.
More News from Iran:
- Christian Maryam Naghash Zargaran released after four years in prison
- Christians given harsh prison sentences
- What will re-election of Rouhani mean for Christians?
- Your letters bring joy to Pastor Behnam
- Christians sentenced to 80 lashes for taking communion
Find out more about persecution in Iran.