Behnam Ersali and Davood Rasooli, both Christians from Muslim backgrounds from Karaj, northeastern Iran, were arrested just before the weekend. They had arranged to meet in Mashhad, 946km from Karaj, but it is thought that Iranian intelligence found out about their meeting by intercepting their calls.
Behnam was staying at a friend’s house in Mashhad when six security agents raided the house and arrested Behnam and a friend. After a few hours Behnam’s friend was released, but Behnam remained in custody.
Davood was arrested in the early hours of the morning by two security agents at his home in Karaj as he was preparing to go to meet Behnam. They took him away, but later returned to search his house and confiscate some books and other personal belongings.
Since their arrest, the two men have not been in touch with family or friends and it is not known on what charges they are detained or where they are kept, although Davood’s friends suspect he is being held in solitary confinement and interrogated in Rajai Shahr Prison. But the Lord Jesus knows where these faithful, courageous brothers are – let’s place them in His loving hands.
- For Behnam and Davood, that they will know God’s strengthening power and wisdom to stand up to interrogation, and that they will be released soon
- That God will encourage their families and friends and protect those close to the two men
- For God’s strength and courage for all Christians imprisoned in Iran, and that God’s mercy would soften the hearts of the Iranian authorities intent on causing harm.
Source: Middle East Concern
'I THOUGHT EVERYONE HAD FORGOTTEN ABOUT ME'
The consitution in Iran, which is number 10 on the Open Doors 2018 World Watch List, acknowledges Christians as one of the recognised religious minorities allowed to operate in the country ‘within the limits of the law’. But in reality things are very different: the government harasses and imprisons Christians and other religious minorities and the law does not allow Muslims to convert to Christianity – or even renounce their beliefs.
But your prayers and support can make a world of difference to our brothers and sisters in Iran, even in prison, where it seems that no one can reach them. Pastor Reza* was imprisoned in Iran, and he testifies of the huge difference it made when people were praying for him. For months he was in solitary confinement, and he didn’t know what day of the week it was, but he noticed that on some days he woke up feeling lighter. He says, "Later I found out that it was every Sunday that I had this feeling. Exactly the day that many were praying for me at the same time."
After four years’ imprisonment for 'violating national security', Iranian Christian Maryam Naghash Zargaran was released from Tehran’s Evin prison in August 2017. Open Doors held a worldwide letter-writing campaign for her during her time in prison. The video below shows, not only the price Christians pay for their faith in Iran, but the powerful effect of discovering that they are not forgotten.
*name changed for security reasons