Pastor Benham Irani

Why was Pastor Benham Irani imprisoned?

Pastor Irani was arrested in 2011 and sentenced to six years’ imprisonment on charges of “action against the state” and “action against the order.” These charges are a ruse by the Iranian authorities to cover up the fact that he has been imprisoned because of his Christian faith – a tactic we’re seeing more and more often.

He is now being held in Ghezal Hesar, one of Iran’s most notorious prisons. He has been beaten regularly by prison authorities and other inmates, and as a result can barely walk, has acute stomach ulcers and impaired vision, and has suffered severe bleeding which caused him to lose consciousness temporarily.

He has been denied adequate medical treatment, and we believe that he will not survive another five years in prison in his current condition. He is married to Christine, an Armenian Christian, and has a daughter, Rebecca, eleven and a son Adriel, four. He became a Christian in 1992 and has been a church leader since 2002.

Pastor Benham Irani

BREAKING NEWS Pastor Irani’s health worsens: friends fear he may not live to serve his prison sentence  22/11/2012

An Iranian pastor imprisoned for his faith is losing weight quickly, and is increasingly jaundiced. He may not survive another five years, which is the remaining time of his sentence for  trumped-up charges of “action against national security”... Read more



Take action

Pastor Benham Irani’s health is in critical condition and there is a very real chance he will die in Ghezal Hesar prison if he remains in his current condition.  Email the head of Iran’s judiciary now to demand urgent medical treatment for Pastor Irani, and plead for his release from unjust imprisonment.

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Iran updates

Pastor Irani’s health worsens: friends fear he may not live to serve his prison sentence 22/11/2012

Iran: Human rights lawyer Mohammad Ali Dadkhah jailed 02/10/2012

New letter from Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani following his release from prison 19/09/2012

One amazing weekend: freedom for the prisoners! 13/09/2012

IRAN: Pastor Nadarkhani acquitted and released, but CSW concerned for his safety 10/09/2012

>>> Read more on Iran

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Pastor Benham Irani's case: Timeline

October 2012: Pastor Irani’s condition is so serious that he may die in prison in his current condition..

July 2012: Loses consciousness after bleeding severely due to stomach ulcers and colon complications. Health declines sharply as he is denied access to adequate medical treatment.

October 2011: Pastor Irani is told he will now serve the five-year suspended sentence he was given in 2006 for “action against national security”. The verdict against him describes him as an apostate (someone who has abandoned Islam), and states that apostates “can be killed”.

May 2011: Following a failed appeal, Pastor Irani is violently arrested and taken to Ghezal Hesar to serve his one-year sentence. Receives death threats from other inmates, and is beaten regularly. Held in a small cell, and repeatedly woken from sleep as a form of psychological torture.

January 2011: Tried and convicted of “action against the state”. Sentenced to one year in prison.

April 2010: Assaulted and arrested while leading a house church service; later released on bail.

2008: Appeal rejected; suspended sentence upheld.

2007: Appealed against sentence.

December 2006: Arrested, charged with “action against national security”, given a five-year suspended sentence.


Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) is a human rights organisation which specialises in religious freedom, works on behalf of those persecuted for their Christian beliefs and promotes religious liberty for all.

For more information, please call 0845 456 5464, email or visit