Iran: five converts summoned to prison in Karaj

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Iranian Christians request prayer for five Christian converts who were summoned to begin serving prison sentences starting 5 July.

In December 2017 security agents raided the homes of Amin Khaki, Milad Goudarzi, Shahab Shahi, Yaghub Nateghi and Alireza Nourmohamadi, while house church meetings were taking place. They are all part of the self-styled “Church of Iran” denomination.

The men were taken to an unknown location for interrogation, but were permitted to inform their families of their well-being. By early 2018, they had all been freed after submitting bail.

On 27 November 2018 the five men were summoned to court to face charges of acting against national security. However, the judge rejected their defence lawyer and the hearing was postponed.

In March Amin Khaki was sentenced to fourteen months’ for propaganda against the regime and establishing house churches and the others were sentenced to four months’ each for propaganda against the regime. The sentences were upheld in the appeal court on 11 June. They were informed by text message that on 5 July they should present themselves at the Central Prison of Karaj.

Amin Khaki was first arrested in May 2010, charged with anti-government activity and given a one-year suspended sentence that was eventually suspended for five years. In March 2014, he was again arrested and detained while attending a picnic with other Christians, near Shoush. In October 2015 he was sentenced to one year in prison (including time already served) on charges of “action against national security.” He was released in July 2016.

Iranian Christians request prayer for the men and their families at this difficult time. Please pray that:
a.       God will encourage and strengthen the men and their families
b.       God will meet all the needs of the families while the men are serving their prison sentences
c.       The Iranian authorities will respect the right to freedom of religion and belief and stop persecuting religious minorities

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