HEader                                                                          Saheb Fadaie, Yousef Nadarkhani, Yasser Mossayebzadeh and Mohammadreza Omidi    

At least 12 Christians are facing ten or more years in prison for unsubstantiated national security-related crimes. In reality these ‘crimes’ - celebrating Christmas, having a picnic, meeting together – are things Christians around the world do all the time.

It’s time to tell Iran to stop criminalising Christians: take action today!

Live in the UK? Email your MP and Alistair Burt (Minister of State for the Middle East).

Live in Brazil? Email your Iranian Ambassador today. 

Live in Australia? Email your Iranian Ambassador today. 

Live in the United States? Email your Iranian representative today. 

UPDATE

Thank you so much for your faithful prayers for Yousef Nadarkhani, Mohammadreza Omidi, Yasser Mossayebzadeh, and Saheb Fadaie, four men currently appealing unjust charges in Iran. They did not receive a summons prior to 4 October, the day originally set for a hearing, so their lawyer went on his own to seek clarification. The outcome remains unclear but another hearing may be scheduled. Please pray for God to provide them with endurance and deliverance. 


 CHURCH OF IRAN (RASHT):

Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani

Arrested: 13 May 2016

Sentence: 12 years in prison

Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani was arrested on 13 May 2016, during a series of raids by security agents on Christian homes. Their church was accused of receiving money from the British government. In July 2017, Pastor Nadarkhani was sentenced to ten years in prison for ‘acting against national security’. In addition the pastor, along with Mr Mohammadreza Omidi, has been sentenced to an extra two years to be served in a prison in the south of Iran, an exceptionally hot and harsh part of the country.

Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani was first arrested in 2009 after going to his children’s school to question the Muslim monopoly on children’s education in Iran. He was charged with apostasy (abandoning a religion: in this case, Islam) and sentenced to death. He remained in prison under constant threat of death until his eventual acquittal and release at the end of 2012.

Mohammadreza Omidi, Yasser Mossayebzadeh, and Saheb Fadaie

Arrested: 13 May 2016

Sentence: 10 years in prison

These three men were arrested along with Pastor Nadarkhani on 13 May 2016 during a series of raids on Christian homes. Their church was accused of receiving money from the British government, and all three men are also facing a sentence of eighty lashes each for drinking wine during a Communion service.

Mr Mohammadreza Omidi, has been sentenced to an extra two years to be served in a prison in the south of Iran, an exceptionally hot and harsh part of the country.


ASSYRIAN PENTECOSTAL CHURCH (TEHRAN):

Pastor Victor Beth-Tamraz

Arrested: 26 December 2014

Sentence: 10 years in prison

Pastor Beth-Tamraz, who is Assyrian, was found guilty of “conducting evangelism” and “illegal house-church activities” after a number of Christians were arrested at a Christmas celebration he was hosting. His wife and son, Shamiran Issavi Khabizeh and Ramiel Beth-Tamraz, are still awaiting trial. In June, Shamiran Issavi Khabizeh was summoned and charged with “participating in foreign seminars” and “acting against national security”. She was released a day later on bail. Ramiel Beth-Tamraz has been charged with “acting against national security” and “organising and creating house churches”, as well as other charges relating to his father’s ministry.

Amin Afshar-Naderi

Arrested: 26 December 2014

Sentence: 15 years in prison and a two year travel ban

Mr Naderi was initially arrested at the 2014 Christmas celebration, charged with “conducting evangelism”, and was held mostly in solitary confinement before being released on bail in February 2015. In August 2016, he was re-arrested at a picnic along with five other Christians, and has been in prison ever since. He was sentenced to ten years for “acting against national security” and five years for “insulting the sacred” (blasphemy). 

Following a verdict between 3 and 4 July, Mr Naderi received a fifteen year sentence plus a two year travel ban. An appeal was launched, but bail was raised to US$80,000 for Mr Naderi. Mr Naderi immediately began another hunger strike, which he maintained until he was released from prison on bail on 25 July. His health is reported to have deteriorated. 

Hadi Asgari

Arrested: 26 December 2014

Sentence: 10 years in prison

Mr Asgari was arrested along with Mr Naderi at the picnic and has been in prison ever since, where he has experienced particularly intense interrogation. In February, Mr Naderi and Mr Askari went on hunger strike to demand medical attention (Mr Asgari had been refused treatment for a kidney infection). They ended the hunger strike when the head of the Attorney General’s office and his deputy visited them, promising medical care, and that they would look into to their cases and those of others imprisoned for their religious beliefs.

 

Following a verdict issued between 3 and 4 July, Mr Asgari was received a ten year sentence plus a two year travel ban. An appeal was launched, but bail was raised to US$50,000 for Mr Asgari. 

 

Kaviyan Fallah-Mohammadi

Arrested: 26 December 2014

Sentence: 10 years in prison for “acting against national security” and “organising and conducting house-churches”


WORD OF LIFE CHURCH (BAKU):

Yusif Farhadov, Eldar Gurbanov, and Bahram Nasibov

Arrested: 24 June 2016

Sentence: 10 years in prison

These three men, all from Azerbaijan, had travelled to Iran to take part in an engagement ceremony. After they were arrested, they were held in solitary confinement and harshly interrogated. They were released on bail and allowed to return to Azerbaijan in November, having paid the full amount. It’s likely that, having been sentenced, they’ll forfeit their bail and not return to Iran.

Nasser Navard Goltape

Arrested: 24 June 2016

Sentence: 10 years in prison

Like his Azeri friends, Mr Goltape had travelled to take part in engagement ceremony, where he was arrested. Like them, he endured solitary confinement and harsh interrogation before being sentenced- however, as an Iranian, he doesn’t have the option of forfeiting his bail and still faces a 10-year sentence.