Iranian Authorities have sentenced nine Christian men to five years in prison, accused of “acting against national security”. Security officials arrested the men during several raids on house churches in northern Iran earlier this year.
In March, authorities released seven of the men on bail to later appear in court. The other two men, Pastor Matthias Haghnejad and Shahrooz Eslamdoust remained in prison until their court hearing on 24 July.
The preliminary court hearing in July resulted in another three men joining Matthias and Shahrooz in prison. Their bail was set at 150 million Toman ($52,000 AUD) and the court hearing was postponed.
On 13 October all nine men were found guilty of “acting against national security”. They were sentenced to five years in prison and are now appealing this ruling.
Authorities consider Christians in Iran a “Western influence” and a threat to the Islamic identity of the country.
Christians accused of crimes are sent to the infamous Evin Prison, for political prisoners. Christians have reported imprisonment beyond their sentence, suffering unhygienic conditions and receiving beatings from the prison guards.
Despite these hardships, the church continues to grow in Iran.
Pray For Iran:
- Pray that the Lord will aid the appeal of these men, and that they would be freed from prison.
- Pray that the government of Iran will respect freedom of religion and allow Christians to openly worship.
- Pray that the Lord will strengthen and encourage Christians in Iran to hold firmly to their faith and follow Jesus, no matter the cost.
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