Posted on 21st January 2013

 

 

Greetings in the name of Jesus, Prince of Peace

 

On Friday (18th January) we requested prayer for Saeed, an Iranian believer from a Muslim background who is currently detained in Tehran, who was scheduled to face a hearing in a Revolutionary Court today (i.e. Monday 21st).

 

The hearing took place as scheduled. Saeed and his lawyer were in attendance, as was Saeed’s father. The hearing covered Saeed’s Christian activities in Iran, which the government considers part of a plot by the West to undermine the regime. Saeed told the judge he does not have any political objectives, but is a religious person. The lawyer is expecting a verdict to be issued next week.

 

Recall that Saeed was in Iran to visit his parents and to conduct humanitarian activities. In 2009 he had been warned about his activities with house fellowships, and so had focused on humanitarian activities during subsequent visits to Iran. He has joint Iranian-US citizenship, and his wife and children are in the US. He has been detained since 26th September.

 

Christians supporting this family thank us for our prayers. They request our continued intercession, asking that:

a.      Saeed will know the close presence of Jesus each day

b.      Naghmeh, their two children and his parents will know Jesus’ presence and peace

c.       All charges against Saeed will be dropped, and that he will be released, and allowed to travel freely from and to Iran and to continue his humanitarian work in the country

d.      Others currently detained in Iran for their Christian faith or activities will be released and all charges against them dropped

e.      Others facing court hearings for their Christian faith or activities will know the Spirit’s guiding wisdom as and when their hearings are held, and that all charges will be dropped

f.        All officials involved will love mercy, act justly, learn about Jesus and choose to follow Him.

 

 

 

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

 

Latest Requests

  • Iran: Christians awaiting appeal verdict

    Posted on 9th February

     

    Greetings in the name of Jesus.

    Iranian Christians have requested prayer for Amin Khaki, Hossein Barounzadeh, Mohammad Bahrami and Rahman Bahmani as they await the verdict of the judge after appearing in Ahvaz Revolutionary Court on 1st February. The defendants are affiliated with the self-styled "Church of Iran" network.

    As mentioned in a Middle East Concern update on 25th January, Amin, Hossein, Mohammad and Rahman were among eight people arrested at a picnic in Shush on 5th March 2014. Mohammad was released then re-arrested on 7th April 2014 while Hossein, Rahman and Amin were detained and imprisoned in Ahvaz on charges of "action against national security”. They were later released on bail pending a trial.
     
    The trial took place on 19th May 2015 but it was not until 4th October 2015 that the defendants received a court ruling sentencing them each to one year in prison (including time already served) for spreading Christianity in Iran. Following an appeal a retrial was held on 1st February 2016 and the judge is expected to give a ruling soon.

    Iranian Christians request our prayers that:
    a. the judge will show clemency and the sentences against Amin, Hossein, Mohammad and Rahman will be overturned
    b. the defendants will be treated with respect and dignity as beings created in the image of God
    c. all officials involved will love mercy, act justly, learn about Jesus and choose to follow Him

     

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

     
  • Turkey: Court awards damages to Malatya families

    Posted on 27th January


    Greetings in the name of Jesus.

    Turkish Christians have welcomed a positive court ruling in the long-running struggle for justice following the murder of three Christians in 2007. The Malatya Administrative Court has ruled that the Interior Ministry and the Malatya Governor's Office were negligent in their duty to family members of the victims and must pay damages

    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. It was believed that the Turkish authorities had information prior to the incident and had failed to protect the victims accordingly.

    In 2008 the families of the victims opened a case against the Interior Ministry and the Malatya Governor's Office for negligence and the Malatya Administrative Court has awarded compensation for emotional distress ($105,000) and physical harm ($5,500) to the wife (Susanne) and children (Michael, Lucas and Miriam) of Tilmann Geske. Damages have also been awarded to Semsa, the wife of Necati Aydin, and Ibrahim, the father of Ugur Yuksel. 
     
    Turkish Christians have been discouraged by delays in the ongoing trial of the perpetrators and those defendants accused of being involved in the planning. The trial has already had 109 hearings and in 2015 the public prosecutor for the case was changed four times. Of the 21 defendants only one is still in detention – and that is for a separate crime.
     
    The judgement of the Malatya Administrative Court and the decision to award compensation is a welcome step towards justice being upheld and an acknowledgment that state authorities failed in their duty towards the three Christians.

    Turkish Christians are thankful for the recent court decision and  request our intercession, asking that:
    a. Susanne Geske and her children, Ugur's mother and father and Necati's wife Semsa and others close to the victims will continue to know the peace and protection of Jesus as the trial process continues
    b. the trial will be brought to a conclusion and just sentences will be given to those responsible for the crime
    c. all those who aided or perpetrated the murders would have a deep conviction about what they have done, and understand the depths of Jesus' forgiveness
    d. all Christians involved will know the Spirit's enabling, equipping and assisting as they persevere in their efforts to promote justice
    e. all judges, other officials, lawyers and journalists involved will hear the gospel of Jesus, and 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: Retrial for four sentenced to year in prison for spreading Christianity

    Posted on 25th January

    Greetings in the name of Jesus.

    Friends of Amin Khaki, Hossein Barounzadeh, Mohammad Bahrami and Rahman Bahmani have requested prayer as they are due to appear in Ahvaz Revolutionary Court on 1st February. The defendants are affiliated with the self-styled "Church of Iran" network.

    Amin, Hossein, Mohammed and Rahman were among eight people arrested forcibly at a picnic in Shush on 5th March 2014. Those arrested were taken away, blindfolded and interrogated for several hours by armed intelligence and security agents. Although most were released following interrogation (including Mohammed, who was later re-arrested on 7th April 2014), Hossein, Rahman and Amin were imprisoned in Ahvaz on charges of "action against national security".  Hossein and Rahman were released on bail in December while Amin remained detained until Saturday 3rd January 2015 when he was released on bail.

    The defendants received a court ruling on 4th October 2015, although the date on the report was given as 7th July 2015 and the actual trial was held on 19th May 2015. Amin Khaki, Hossein Barounzadeh, Mohammad Bahrami and Rahman Bahmani were each mentioned in the verdict which stated that “the content of the case and also the report of the VEVAK (Ministry of Intelligence and Security) Branch in Ahvaz is that they held illegal meetings named as house churches in rotation in several cities, like Ahvaz and Susa, attempting to spread Christianity and convert Muslims.” They were each sentenced to one year in prison, including the number of days they were held in custody, for spreading Christianity in Iran.
     
    The court hearing that is being held on 1st February is actually a re-trial as a result of an appeal.

    Iranian Christians request our prayers that:
    a. the trial will be conducted fairly and the sentences against Amin, Hossein, Mohammed and Rahman will be overturned
    b. the defendants will be treated with respect and dignity as beings created in the image of God and that God will give them courage before the court
    c. all officials involved will love mercy, act justly, learn about Jesus and choose to follow Him

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

     
  • Iran: Saeed Abedini released‏

    Posted on 17th January

    Christians around the world rejoice that Saeed Abedini has been released from prison.

    Saeed, an Iranian believer from a Muslim background who also has U.S. citizenship, had been imprisoned since September 2012. He was serving an eight year prison sentence on charges of undermining national security, due to his involvement with house fellowships. During his time in prison, he suffered serious health issues, physical and verbal abuse and received death threats on account of his faith in Christ.

    Saeed was released today (16th January) as part of a prisoner exchange between the U.S. and Iran that also saw the release of three other Iranian-Americans: Jason Rezaian, Amir Hekmati and Nosratollah Khosravi.

    Saeed's wife, Naghmeh, expressed her joy and surprise at the news of his release and thanked the many people around the world who had been interceding for Saeed and his family.

    Iranian Christians request our continuing prayer, asking that:
    a. Saeed and his family will be reunited soon and will know God's strength in the necessary adjustments
    b. Saeed will quickly recover from his prison ordeal and find strength in God
    c. Other Christians detained in Iranian prisons will be encouraged and released soon
    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.

     

     
  • Syria: Release of 16 Assyrian Christians

    Posted on 14th January
     
    Greetings in the name of Jesus, the Prince of Peace.

    Syrian Christians praise God for the release of 16 more Assyrian Christians who had been held hostage by Daesh (so-called ‘Islamic State’) for more than ten months.
     
    The release of these Christians was confirmed by Assyrian sources today (14th January). These Christians were among more than 230 abducted in late February 2015 when Daesh captured around 35 predominantly Assyrian villages along the Khabour River in Hassaka Governorate. Their liberation, together with the recent release of others (50 in December and 47 in November), follows negotiations over many months by church representatives.
     
    A spokesperson for the Assyrian Church of the East noted that 66 of this group remain in Daesh captivity, stressing that efforts to secure their release remain ongoing. In addition, many Christians are understood to be among more than 200 civilians abducted by Daesh in August in al-Qaryatain in Homs Governorate, many of whom remain unaccounted for.
     
    Syrian Christians encourage us to rejoice that more have been released. They request continued prayer that:
    a. those who have recently been released will know the Lord's comfort, healing and restoration
    b. all who remain abducted will similarly know the Lord's comfort and sustaining, and that they will be released soon
    c. those engaged in ongoing negotiations will know the Lord’s strengthening, discernment and provision
    d. those displaced will know the Lord's care and provision, and be able to return to their homes soon
    e. violence will cease, peace will be restored and the clear rule of law will be applied equally for all in Syria
    f. those responsible for the murder and abduction of innocent civilians will know the Spirit's conviction of sin, seek the Father's forgiveness and find new life in the Son
     
    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.