Updated: Sep 11, 2019
Iranian Christian heads to prison rather than renounce her faith Iranian Christian Fatemeh Bakhteri is behind bars in Tehran’s brutal Evin Prison today – because she refused to renounce her faith. Fatemeh (also known as Ailar) has just started serving a one-year sentence because her Christian activities were deemed ‘propaganda against the state’. Friends say she was not afraid as she went to jail.
Pray that God’s peace and presence will be with Fatemeh as she adapts to life in jail.
She and her co-defendant, Saheb Fadaie (also known as Zaman), who are both converts to Christianity, had appealed against sentences handed down last September: Saheb had been convicted of ‘acting against national security’ and sentenced to 18 months behind bars and two years in exile. They came under heavy pressure from appeal judges to renounce their faith – but both refused. Saheb is already serving a ten-year prison sentence for his church activities.
Meanwhile, Pastor Victor bet Tamraz, his wife Shamiram Issavi Khabizeh, their son Ramiel, and three others Christians – Amin Nader Afshari, Hadi Asgari and Kavian Fallah Mohammadi – had their appeal against prison sentences ranging from four months to 15 years adjourned last week. The judge failed to appear and no new date has been set.
Pray that God will strengthen and encourage Fatemeh and Saheb. Ask God to comfort and strengthen Fatemeh’s husband too.Pray that God will use Fatemeh, Saheb and other Christian inmates of Evin Prison to speak of His great love for every prisoner there.Ask God to sustain Pastor Victor, his family and friends in this time of uncertainty. Pray they will all be acquitted.Continue to pray for the Iranian authorities, that they will come to uphold religious freedom and begin to recognise the church as a force for social good.
(Source: Middle East Concern)
UPDATES Please continue to pray for Pervaiz Masih and his wife, Zareena, in Pakistan. They told Release partners on a recent visit that life remains hard, even after Pervaiz was acquitted of blasphemy earlier this year. Pervaiz still works as a bonded labourer in a brick kiln in Punjab, and the family still live among those who accused Pervaiz of blasphemy. Zareena has been left disabled after police assaulted her, and their three-year-old daughter drowned in unexplained circumstances during the case. (Source: Release partners) Praise God that Bijaya Kumar Sanaseth, one of seven Christians accused of murdering Hindu leader Lakshmanananda Saraswati in India in 2008, has been released on bail after more than ten years in jail. Another Christian, Gornath Chalanseth, was freed on bail in May. Saraswati’s death triggered riots in Odisha state in which hundreds of Christians died, despite the fact that Maoist rebels said they killed Saraswati. (Sources: Morning Star News; VOM Canada) Please continue to pray for our Nigerian sister, Leah Sharibu, the teenager from Dapchi being held by Boko Haram extremists because she refuses to recant her faith. Rumours that she had been killed by her captors were quashed by a recent presidential statement saying that she is alive and that ‘the government is committed to her safe return’. (Source: Morning Star News)
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