Two Iranian Christians sent to prison for ‘spreading propaganda against the regime’
In one of our recent posts, we highlighted the need for prayer for our brothers and sisters in the Persian speaking world. Our partners on the field asked us to raise prayer support for two Iranian Christians were given notice that their prison sentences had been upheld by a court in Tehran.
Saheb Fadaie (above left) and 37 year old Fatemeh Bakhteri (above right ) were sentenced in September 2018 to jail terms of 18 months and 12 months respectively, for “spreading propaganda against the regime”. The verdict found that discussing Christian faith in house churches were attacks on Islam.
During an appeal hearing in January, the two refused to renounce their faith.
On May 18, they received word from judges Hassan Babaee and Ahmad Zargar that their petition had been denied.
Saheb will serve his 18-month sentence at the same time with a 10-year sentence he already is serving in Tehran’s Evin Prison “for acting against national security” by “promoting Zionist Christianity”. That sentence was handed down by the same judges in May 2018. Saheb is already serving another sentence in Tehran’s Evin Prison (known as Iran’s “torture factory”), along with Pastors Yousef Nadarkhani, Mohammadreza Omidi and Yaser Mosibzadeh. Saheb is additionally sentenced to two years in internal exile–a punishment often given to political prisoners in Iran.
Fatemeh had been interrogated by security agents before. She was arrested, with several other people including Fadaie, during a raid on a house church in Rasht on May 25, 2017, said Middle East Concern.
Christians in Iran continue to “suffer multiple violations of their right to freedom of religion or belief” with “an unprecedented wave of raids on private house gatherings, leading to large number of arrests” at the end the year, said advocacy organisation Article 18 in its 2018 annual report.
· That Saheb and Fatimeh will be able to hold on strong to their faith in Christ despite the harsh prison sentence.
· Please pray for other believers who are behind bars in Iran at this time on account of their faith.
· Please pray for Saheb’s family and Fatimeh’s husband.
Facts about Iran
· World Watch List 2019 Rank: 9
· Main engines of persecution: Islamic oppression and Dictatorial paranoia
· Population: 82 million
· Religion: Christian 0.98%, Muslim 98.8%