Some of you have been writing to Pastor Victor bet Tamraz and his wife, Shamiram Issavi Khabizeh, who are both on bail in Iran and appealing their sentences. This is the latest information* on their hearings.
Pastor Victor (far left) and Shamiram (far right)
An appeal court hearing was scheduled for three separate cases on 3 September 2019 – unfortunately, the judge failed to attend the hearing and so the hearing has been postponed, with no new date yet scheduled.
The first of the three cases involves Pastor Victor bet Tamraz and Christian converts Amin Nader Afshari and Kavian Fallah Mohammadi (arrested at a Christmas celebration in December 2014). The second also involves Amin Nader Afshari, who was re-arrested in August 2016 with another convert, Hadi Asgari, and Ramiel bet Tamraz (Pastor Victor's son), together with two others. The third case involves Shamiram Issavi Khabizeh, Pastor Victor's wife.
The presiding judge, Ahmed Zargar, indicated at a hearing for Shamiram on 19 February that the three cases would be combined for an appeal hearing on 3 September. However, only Shamiram and Kavian Fallah Mohammadi received summonses for the hearing.
The family of Victor, Shamiram and Ramiel were disappointed that Victor and Ramiel were not summoned to the hearing as had previously been indicated. They believe that the Iranian authorities are delaying the judicial process to put pressure on the family to leave Iran.
Pastor Victor was arrested with two members of his church in 2014 as they celebrated Christmas together. The government had already closed the Tehran Pentecostal Assyrian Church, which he led, in 2009. He was found guilty of 'conducting evangelism' and 'illegal house-church activities', among other charges, and given a ten-year prison sentence. His first appeal hearing was heard in June this year, but the court’s decision is awaited. He is on bail at the moment, and it is hard to be in a state of uncertainty, not knowing if he will be called to serve his prison term.
Shamiram is appealing against a five-year prison sentence for 'acting against national security and against the regime by organising small groups, attending a seminary abroad and training church leaders and pastors to act as spies'. Shamiram is awaiting the results of her appeal, and is out on bail at the moment. Please pray that her appeal is heard and that she will be set free.
You can write to Pastor Victor and Shamiram and let them know that they are not alone.
- For the Lord’s justice to prevail, that all defendants in the three cases will eventually be acquitted of all charges against them
- That all the defendants and their families would know the peace, love, hope and joy of God as they wait for more news
- That the Lord will strengthen and encourage all Iranian Christians who are falsely accused of acts against national security simply because of their Christian faith and activities.
*Information provided by Middle East Concern