Iranian Christians request prayer following a court hearing today (18 June) at Branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court in Tehran.
Ramiel Bet Tamraz, an Assyrian Christian, and another man, a Christian convert, who has asked for his name to be withheld, were both charged with “acting against national security” by joining house churches. “Action against national security” is a charge commonly levelled against Christians in Iran. Judge Ahmadzadeh is expected to deliver his verdict in about ten days’ time. Both men were conditionally released from prison on 10 October 2016 after posting bail.
On 26 August 2016 Ramiel, a Christian from an ethnic Assyrian background, was arrested with four Christian convert friends when security officials from the Ministry of Intelligence and Security raided their picnic. They were detained in Evin Prison, Tehran, where all five men endured long periods of solitary confinement and intense interrogation.
Ramiel is the third person in his family facing court proceedings on account of his Christian identity and actions. His mother, Shamiram Isavi Khabizeh, is appealing a five-year prison sentence for “acting against national security and against the regime by organising small groups, attending a seminary abroad and training church leaders and pastors to act as spies”. His father, pastor Victor Bet Tamraz, is appealing a ten-year prison sentence for “acting against national security”.
Iranian Christians ask for prayer that:
(a) The judge will rule fairly, acquit both defendants and not be under pressure to make a conviction
(b) The pressure against Ramiel’s family, possibly intended to force them to leave Iran, would cease
(c) Christians in Iran, whether ethnic Christians or converts, will have the freedom to live according to their faith without being treated as criminals
(d) Those responsible for the harassment, arrests and detention of Christians will repent of their actions