Pray for the appeal hearing for six believers in Iran
Iranian Christians request prayer for an upcoming appeal hearing, scheduled for September 3rd, at which the sentences given to six Iranian Christian believers will be reviewed. The sentences to be reviewed are concerning the cases for Assyrian Pastor Victor bet Tamraz and Persian Christian converts Amin Nader Afshari and Kavian Fallah Mohammadi, who were arrested at a Christmas celebration in December 2014.
A second case will also be reviewed, this involves Amin Nader Afshari, who was re-arrested in August 2016 with another convert, Hadi Asgari, and Ramiel bet Tamraz (Pastor Victor's son), together with two others. The third case involves Shamiram Issavi Khabizeh, (Pastor Victor's wife), summoned by the authorities in June 2017. All three cases are expected to be reviewed on the same day.
Pastor Victor was sentenced in July 2017 to ten years’ imprisonment for 'acting against national security'. Amin, Hadi and Kavian also received prison sentences of between ten and fifteen years on similar charges. Shamiram was sentenced in January 2018 to five years' imprisonment for 'acting against national security', and 'acting against the regime by organizing small groups, attending a seminary abroad and training church leaders and pastors to act as spies.’ In July 2018, Ramiel was sentenced to four months' imprisonment for 'spreading Christian propaganda.'
At an appeal hearing in Shamiram's case on February 19, 2019, the judge, Ahmed Zargar, decided to combine her case with the two other cases.
These harsh sentences given to Pastor Victor, Amin, Hadi and Kavian were issued by Judge Ahmadzadeh of Tehran Revolutionary Court, who was subsequently suspended from duty after being investigated in relation to allegations of corruption.
These cases have attracted significant international attention. In July 2019, Pastor Victor and Shamiram daughter - Dabrina, raised the cases in person with U.S. President Trump during a summit on religious freedom in Washington D.C. On August 2, U.S. Vice-President Pence publicly referred to Pastor Victor, saying his treatment is "an affront to religious freedom."
May the Lord strengthen Pastor Victor, Shamiram, Ramiel, Amin, Kavian and Hadi whose cases are going to be reviewed at this time.
Please pray for guidance and wisdom for the judge, Ahmad Zargar, as he prepares for the hearing.
May justice prevail and believers be acquitted of all false charges against them.
(Source: Middle East Concern)