Freedom for 69 Christians in Eritrea
We are excited to report that in recent weeks, Eritrea has released a number of Christian prisoners many of whom had been in prison for over 10 years. In 2002, President Isaias Afwerki, had hundreds of Christians arrested and held indefinitely without trial. We give thanks to God for this major answer to prayers and continue to pray that those who have been released will be supported in their rehabilitation.
Death Penalty for Blasphemy in Pakistan
In Pakistan, the wife of a Christian man was forced into hiding after her husband was sentenced to death for blasphemy. Marilyn Asif and her four young children had to flee for their lives following the verdict against her husband Asif who was falsely accused of sending blasphemous text messages.
37 year-old Asif had already spent seven years in jail after a blasphemy case was filed against him in 2013. He was finally given the death penalty on September 8. The case against Asif was brought after he refused to take part in Muslim prayers at his factory or convert to Islam. Asif lost his phone, which was then used to send a so-called blasphemous text message to his supervisor at work. Asif believes the text was actually sent by his accuser to incriminate him.
Asif’s wife is now fearful for the safety of her children. A partner of Release International says, ‘She is in hiding because she feels threatened. She is trying to keep her three sons and daughter safe.’
(Here you can watch a short clip on the story of Zafar Bhatti who was charged with the same offence and sentenced to life in prison.)
Please pray for Asif, his family, and all those in Pakistan who are imprisoned because of false allegations.
Prisoners in Iran
Our partner in Iran is thankful to God for the growing numbers of believers in the Islamic Republic. Although Christianity is severely restricted in Iran, today it is reported that hundreds of thousands of Iranians are following Jesus. Online services and other Christian internet programmes have been a source of great support for them and helped them to grow in faith. However, due to pressure and threats many are still forced to flee. You can read Maryam’s story of conversion to Christianity and the cost that she and her family faced for the sake of the gospel – a cost which included spending time in prison.
Right now, our partners serving prisoners of faith in Eritrea are asking us to pray urgently for them and to help their families as they struggle to survive.
Because of the severe lockdown restrictions prisoners of faith are not receiving any of the food cooked by local Christian women who make simple meals for those in nearby prisons. Food shortages in prison are a massive problem and many inmates are facing starvation.
The situation is no better for the prisoners’ families who cannot afford the rising food prices and desperately need our help.
CEO Release International