Arrested on December 27th 2012 for celebrating Christmas with a group of believers in Tehran, 60-year-old Pastor Vruir Avanessian, who suffers from kidney failure, was temporarily released on bail on January 10th, 2013. A date for his court hearing has not been provided. Pastor Avanessian’s family and friends are grateful for the prayers of Christians around the world.
At least sixteen other Christians remain in prison for their faith. This includes Farshid Fathi who is serving a six-year sentence in Evin Prison, Alireza Seyyedian and Mohammad-Reza Hosseini, and Saeed Abedini, an Iranian with a US passport.
Behnam Irani from Karaj, a large suburb of Tehran, is serving a five year sentence in Ghezel Hazar prison. His health is suffering. Maryam Jalili and Mitra Zahmati from Pakdasht are known to be in prison, as are these believers from Shiraz: Mohammad Roghangir, Suroush Saraie, Eskandar Rezaie, Mehdi Ameruni, Shahin Lahooti, Massoud Rezaie, Mojtaba Houseini, Homayoun Shokoohi and Vahid Hakkani.
The message of the Iranian government to Christians is simple: we can arrest you any time we like. The message of history is equally simple: the persecution of Christians is never ultimately successful.
• Policy of persecution of Christians to end
• Release of all Christian prisoners
• Release of all held unjustly in prison