This year, Christians in Iran have continued to face harsh, brutal and persistent persecution. Many prisoners have faced unbelievably brutal abuse; numerous Christians have been newly arrested; various Christians have been sentenced and are waiting to begin serving time.
At least 60 Christians are detained in Iran because of their faith: some are serving court-issued sentences and some are in illegal pre-trial detention. Some of these 60 have been arrested this year; for example, six Christians were arrested on Easter Sunday during a house church service in Tehran. Their fate is unknown; it is likely they remain detained and have been enduring regular interrogations. Eight others were arrested on 5 March and four of them remain detained. In April, Christian musician Shahin Lahooti began serving a court-issued sentence; six others from his church have been sentenced and could be summoned to prison at any time. Pastor Vruir Avanessian has also been sentenced to three years and could be called to serve his sentence at any time.
Many incidents of abuse during 2014 have reminded the world of Iran’s disdain for the rights of prisoners. Farshid Fathi was injured along with many others during an attack in Evin prison on 17 April. Farshid was denied an operation to his injured foot for so long that the window of opportunity closed and he now must wait for his foot to heal naturally. In May, Saeed Abedini also endured severe beatings in hospital (where he had been for two months recovering from previous beatings), and was hauled back to prison. Another Christian’s family home is being cruelly confiscated by the government. Let’s hold them all up in prayer.
Visit Elam’s persecution webpage to find out more.