Latest Requests

  • Turkey: verdict imminent in Malatya Zirve trial?

    Posted on 27th June

    Turkish Christians request prayer for what could be the final hearing in a long-standing murder trial following the killing of three Christians in Malatya in 2007. Court officials informed a relative and a Turkish church leader that a verdict will be issued at the end of the 114th hearing on 28th June.

    Necati Aydin, Ugur Yuksel and Tilmann Geske were murdered on 18th April 2007 at the Zirve Christian publishing house in Malatya in eastern Turkey. Five men, aged 19 and 20 at the time, were arrested at the scene and charged with the murders. Their trial became increasingly complicated as a result of efforts to identify those behind the perpetrators. Many more people were arrested and brought to court, including a colonel in the gendarmerie and three army officers, although these additional defendants are likely to be acquitted, according to local press sources.

    On 10th March 2014 the five perpetrators were released from prison and put under house arrest with electronic tags.However, they have been seen moving around freely - to the dismay of relatives of the victims and the small Christian community in Malatya.

    It is anticipated that many family members of the victims as well as consular officials and members of the press will be present at the hearing tomorrow. The prosecutor has demanded that each of the five men caught at the scene of the crime receive three life sentences.

    Despite the horror of the murders, Turkish Christians recognise that the incident led to a change in the attitude of Turkish society through greater acceptance of the church and of believers from Muslim backgrounds. The mainstream Turkish press also responded and refrained from using hate speech against Christians - something that had occurred frequently prior to the murders in Malatya.

    Turkish Christians request our intercession, asking that:
    a. family members and others close to the victims will continue to know the peace and protection of Jesus
    b. just sentences will be handed out to those responsible for the crime
    c. all those responsible for the murders would have a deep conviction about what they have done, and seek Jesus' forgiveness
    d. the Christian community in Turkey will be encouraged and strengthened as the trial reaches a conclusion
    e. all judges, other officials, lawyers and journalists involved will be drawn to the Father's love, forgiveness and acceptance

    May be circulated to general mailing lists and outside organisations, and quoted from freely in reports citing "Middle East Concern" as the source of the information.

     

     
  • Iran: update on Rasht arrests - release of Mohammedreza

    Posted on 10th June

    Iranian Christians are pleased to report that the third Iranian Christian arrested in Rasht on 13th May has also been released.

    On 31st May Middle East Concern issued a prayer update giving notice that Yasser Mossayebzadeh and Saheb Fadaie had both been released at the end of May, but the third Christian, Mohammedreza Omidi, remained in detention. On 7th June Mohammedreza was also released on posting bail.

    The three men were arrested after security agents raided the home of Yousef Nadarkhani, a church leader who attracted international attention when charged with apostasy and sentenced to death in 2010, although he was acquitted and released in 2013. Yousef and his wife Tina were arrested along with Yasser Mossayebzadeh. Yousef and Tina were released later that day, but Yasser remained in detention. Two other Christians, Saheb Fadaie and Mohammedreza Omidi, were then summoned to security offices and also detained in connection with the initial arrests.

    Mohammedreza was initially not given the option of posting bail, but his application for conditional release was later approved and he was allowed to leave Lakan Prison in Rasht on Tuesday 7th June after posting bail equivalent to approximately US$33,000 – the same amount as Yasser and Saheb had posted. He was told that he would be summoned again, although the charges he and the others could face remain unclear.

    Those close to the three men thank all who have been praying and rejoice that Mohammedreza has also been released. They request prayer that:
    a. the three men will not need to face charges regarding their faith in Jesus or their Christian activity
    b. God will give His peace to the men and their families, and they will not come under undue pressure to leave the country
    c. there will be no further action taken against Yousef Nadarkhani and his wife Tina
    d. all officials involved will love mercy, act justly, learn about Jesus and choose to follow Him

     

    May be circulated to general mailing lists and outside organisations, and quoted from freely in reports citing "Middle East Concern" as the source of the information.

     

     
  • Iran: release of Christian prisoner on medical furlough

    Posted on 6th June

    Family and friends of Maryam (Naseem) Naghash Zargaran are delighted to say that Maryam has been allowed out of prison to receive medical treatment.
     
    Maryam, a believer from a Muslim background, has been held for nearly three years in Evin Prison in Tehran and has been suffering from a variety of ailments, most recently nausea, severe headaches and pain in her ears. Previously the prosecutor’s office had refused to grant permission for Maryam to be treated outside the prison, even though the medical authorities in the prison recognised the severity of her condition and advised that she needs hospital care.

    On Thursday 26th May Maryam started a hunger strike as a protest against the lack of medical care for her. On 30th May Maryam was taken briefly to hospital, but was returned to prison the same day without receiving the necessary treatment. According to sources close to the family, Maryam’s physical condition was becoming increasingly serious and she was close to becoming comatose. The anxieties suffered by Maryam’s family and friends were compounded by the refusal of prison authorities to provide information on Maryam and her condition.
     
    It is reported that permission was granted for Maryam to leave prison on medical furlough on 5th June, but due to problems in bureaucratic procedure her release on bond was delayed until today (6th June).

    Maryam was arrested in January 2013 in connection with her work on an orphanage with former Christian prisoner Saeed Abedini. She was charged with "acting against national security" and was sentenced to four years’ imprisonment, which she started serving on 15th July 2013 in the women's ward of Evin Prison. A request for a re-trial was refused.

    Family and friends are thankful that Maryam has been released, but please continue to pray that:
    a. Maryam will receive proper treatment, and will be restored to good health
    b. the Lord will bless Maryam and her family during this time they will have together
    c. Maryam will be fully released from prison soon
    d. God will move the Iranian authorities and officials to love mercy and act justly

    May be circulated to general mailing lists and outside organisations, and quoted from freely in reports citing "Middle East Concern" as the source of the information.

     

     
  • Iran: update on three Christians arrested in Rasht

    Posted on 31st May

    On 17th May Middle East Concern requested prayer for three Iranian Christians belonging to the self-styled "Church of Iran" network who were arrested on 13th May in Rasht. We are pleased to report that two were released on bail: Yasser on 28th May and Saheb on 29th May.

    The three men were arrested after security agents raided the home of Yousef Nadarkhani, a church leader who attracted international attention when charged with apostasy and sentenced to death in 2010, although he was acquitted and released in 2013. Yousef and his wife Tina were arrested along with Yasser Mossayebzadeh. Yousef and Tina were released later that day, but Yasser remained in detention. Two other Christians, Saheb Fadaie and Mohammedreza Omidi, were then summoned to security offices and also detained in connection with the initial arrests.

    Yasser and Saheb were both released at the weekend after posting bail equivalent to approximately US$33,000 each.
     
    Mohammedreza remains in Lakan prison near Rasht. He was not given the option of posting bail, despite funds being available. It is not clear why his treatment is different to that of Yasser and Saheb.

    Those close to the three men thank those who have been praying and rejoice that Yasser and Saheb have been released. They request prayer that:
    a. Mohammedreza will be released soon
    b. God will give His peace to the men and their families, and that they will not come under undue pressure to leave the country
    c. there will be no further action taken against Yousef Nadarkhani and his wife Tina
    d. all officials involved will love mercy, act justly, learn about Jesus and choose to follow Him

     

    May be circulated to general mailing lists and outside organisations, and quoted from freely in reports citing "Middle East Concern" as the source of the information.

     

     
  • Iran: Christian prisoner in urgent need of medical care

    Posted on 30th May

     

    Family and friends of Maryam (Naseem) Naghash Zargaran, a believer from a Muslim background who has been held for nearly three years in Evin Prison, Tehran, are greatly concerned about her present situation and request prayer for her treatment and release from prison.

     

    On Thursday 27th May, Maryam went on hunger strike as a protest against the lack of adequate medical treatment for long-standing health problems. She has refused solids and liquids and has not allowed prison medical staff to give her serum. Sources close to the family say that her condition is serious and that Maryam is close to becoming comatose.

     

    Maryam has a history of heart problems. In addition, she has recently been suffering from pain in her ears and severe headaches. She has lost a lot of weight and continues to suffer from depression. Although the medical authorities in the prison recognise the severity of her condition and the need for treatment, the prosecutor’s office has refused to allow Maryam to leave prison to receive adequate care. The only concession was in October 2015, when she was allowed to go to a hospital for a few days, but forced to return to prison without receiving full treatment.

     

    It has been reported that fellow prisoners in the prison ward have shown their support for Maryam by forgoing family visits yesterday (29th May) as a form of protest.

     

    Maryam was arrested in January 2013 in connection with her work on an orphanage with former Christian prisoner Saeed Abedini. She was charged with "acting against national security" and was sentenced to four years imprisonment, which she started serving on 15th July 2013 in the women's ward of Evin prison. A request for a retrial was refused.

     

    Family and friends of Maryam request prayer that:

    a. The Prosecutor will relent and allow Maryam to go to hospital to receive proper treatment

    b. The Lord will sustain Maryam and her family and friends during this critical time

    c. Maryam will be released from prison soon

    d. God will heal and restore Maryam

    e. God will move the Iranian authorities and officials to love mercy and act justly

     

    May be circulated to general mailing lists and outside organisations, and quoted from freely in reports citing "Middle East Concern" as the source of the information.