There is much to pray for as we consider our brothers and sisters facing prison sentences in Iran. On 6th January, Shamiram Isavi Khabizeh was sentenced to five years' imprisonment for acting against national security and acting against the regime by organising small groups, attending a seminary abroad and training church leaders and pastors to act as spies.
During her appeal hearing on 9th May, which lasted about three hours, the prosecutor and the judge spoke disrespectfully to Shamiram and accused the whole family of a variety of unsubstantiated crimes against the regime. Shamiram's lawyer was allowed to speak, but Shamiram herself was not given an opportunity to respond to the allegations.
Shamiram's husband, Pastor Victor Bet Tamraz, and three others, Amin Afshar Naderi, Kavian Fallah Mohammadi and Hadi Asgari have each received prison sentences of between ten and fifteen years for acting against the national security. Their sentences are under appeal after a preliminary hearing on 25th April. Ramiel Bet Tamraz, Pastor Victor and Shamiram's son, also awaits a verdict on charges pertaining to national security.
On 2nd May Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani, Mohammadreza Omidi, Yasser Mossayebzadeh and Saheb Fadaie received confirmation of ten-year sentences for propagating house churches and promoting “Zionist Christianity”. As they were taking communion at the time of their arrest, Yasser, Saheb and Mohammadreza faced separate charges of consumption of wine, for which they were sentenced to 80 lashes each. Their appeal against this sentence remains outstanding.
- That the Lord will comfort and encourage those in prison and their families
- Those still awaiting appeals will be treated with respect and their cases handled in a timely manner
- The judges and officials involved in hearing these cases would be convicted to act justly and love mercy
- For continued bold Christian witness in Iran despite the risk of persecution
(Source: Middle East Concern)