Persecution continues: five arrested at country picnic

Tuesday, August 30th, 2016

Five Christian brothers were arrested during an afternoon picnic on Friday 26 August, by agents of Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS). The five men were reportedly taken to a detention facility where they are believed to remain detained without formal charge. It is likely they are enduring interrogation.

A group of Christian believers from Tehran were gathered together for the picnic in the scenic area of Firuzkuh, Tehran Province, when agents from the MOIS raided the party. The agents reportedly had no warrant, and yet arrested five members of the group: Ramiel Bet Tamraz (the son of Assyrian pastor Victor Bet Tamraz), Amin Nader Afshar, Hadi Askary, Mohamad Dehnay and Amir Sina Dashti. Amin was previously arrested at Christmas 2014 along with Pastor Victor Bet Tamraz. They were both later released on bail and they have been awaiting a summons to court.  It is possible the Firuzkuh incident is linked to the Christmas 2014 arrests.

Injustice abounds for the Christian community in Iran, as it does for many other minority communities. Ebrahim Firouzi remains in Rajai Shahr prison, serving a five year sentence.  In July he reportedly refused to go willingly to his appeal hearing because he had been denied access to his legal documents. It was reported that he was badly beaten as prison authorities forcibly transferred him to the court in Tehran, only for him to be informed that his judge was not present and the appeal hearing would be delayed by a few months.

Meanwhile, Maryam Naghash Zargaran (also known as 'Nasim') continues to serve her four year sentence in Evin prison, after having undergone two difficult hunger strikes to protest her imprisonment and lack of access to adequate medical treatment.  Numerous other believers remain in prison serving sentences and others remain detained prior to sentencing. They all deserve our prayers.

Pray for:

  • Strength, comfort and peace for all those detained and their families;
  • The officials, guards and interrogators to be convicted by the Holy Spirit and to act justly;
  • Justice for those detained and those awaiting a court summons.

Source: Middle East Concern and ArticleEighteen