Iranian Christians have requested our prayers for a number of believers who have received court decisions this month.
First, on 12th October an appeals court upheld the sentences given to four believers who have been detained in Shiraz since February 2012. The four, Homayoun, Korosh, Mojtaba and Vahid, had been convicted on 10th June 2013 on charges of attending a house-church, spreading Christianity, having contact with foreign ministries, propaganda against the regime and disrupting national security and were sentenced to three years and eight months’ imprisonment. Homayoun and Mojtaba have a previous conviction, from 2008, for which they received suspended sentences at that time.
Recall that these brothers were arrested in co-ordinated raids targeting members of a house fellowship on 8th February 2012. Four others were arrested in those two raids, three of whom were released on bail the following month, including Homayoun’s son, Nima. The fourth, Homayoun’s wife, Fariba, was released on bail on 18th October 2012. Fariba and Nima received suspended sentences of two years’ imprisonment.
Second, on 20th October four believers from Muslim backgrounds received notification that they had been sentenced to 80 lashes each. They have been convicted on charges including the drinking of alcohol, after having taken communion wine. They submitted an appeal. However, a key source has reported that the Tribunal rejected their appeal and that one of the four, Behzad, received the lashes today. A second, Youhan, is scheduled to receive the lashes tomorrow (31st October).
Behzad and Youhan were arrested on 31st December 2012 and released on bail on 16th January. The other two are Danial and Youhanna. Behzad also stood trial in May 2011, along with 11 other defendants, under a number of charges including drinking communion wine. On that occasion they were acquitted on the grounds that they were performing a legitimate religious rite – a decision that was upheld in a further court hearing on 8th April 2012
Across Iran a number of other believers remain detained for their faith or Christian activities and others await court hearings.
Iranian Christians supporting these believers request our prayers that:
a. Homayoun, Korosh, Mojtaba and Vahid will know the presence and peace of Jesus each day
b. Similarly, that all others detained for their faith and/or Christian activities will know the presence and peace of Jesus, and be released soon
c. Behzad will know the comfort and healing of Jesus
d. Youhan, Danial and Youhanna will be spared the lashes, and in any event will know the Spirit’s empowering and stand strong in their faith
e. Believers across Iran will know the Spirit’s daily guiding wisdom, grow stronger in their faith and be clear in their testimony
f. All officials involved will love mercy, act justly, learn about Jesus and choose to follow Him.
Open sources used: Mohabat News
URL of this prayer request: http://www.meconcern.org/index.php/en/prayer-requests/672-iran-harsh-sentences-for-believers-upheld