Religious Prisoners in Iran
THESE CHRISTIANS are known to be held in prison in Iran solely for their faith, according to Elam. There are almost certainly more:
Youcef Nadarkhani, was arrested October, 2009, and held in Rasht. For the past ten years, Nadarkhani (also spelt Naderkhani) has been a pastor in a network of house churches with around 400 members. He was sentenced to death November 13th, 2010, for apostasy. Yousef Naderkhani’s wife, Fatemeh Pasandideh, has also suffered. She was arrested on 10th June 2010, and released on 12th October, 2010. The couple has two young sons.
Farshid Fathi was arrested on 26th December, 2010, and held in Evin prison, Tehran. He is married and has two young children. In March, 2011, his family raised the $200,000 for his bail, but when they went to complete the formalities, they were told he could not be released. No formal charges have been made.
Abrahim Firouzi was first arrested on 8th January, 2011, in Robat Karim near Tehran. On 29th January he was charged with ‘evangelizing,’ ‘keeping many copies of the Bible’ and ‘apostasy’. (His family was not able to raise the bail set at $40,000, so he remains in prison.)
Masoud Delijani was arrested 17th March, 2011, in Kermanshah. Seven others arrested with him were released, while two others, Nahid Shirazi and Meghdad Mabakarami, had to raise bail of $20,000 and $40,000 respectively. However Masoud Delijani has been kept in prison.
Noorollah Ghabitizadeh was arrested on December 24th, 2010, in Defzool, Khuzestan.
JUST IN: Vahik Abrahamian, an ethnic Armenian, was arrested September 4th, 2010, and only just released at the end of August after almost a year in prison. Abrahamian holds dual citizenship from Iran and the Netherlands. A former drug addict, he chose to live in Iran to share the hope of Jesus Christ with addicts there. His wife, Sonia Keshish-Avanesian, supported his work. They do not have children. Sonia was imprisoned with Vahid. She was released without bail on 1st May, 2011.