Posted on 15th May 2014


Greetings in the name of Jesus, Prince of Peace

 

On Monday we requested prayer for Meriam Yahia Ibrahim, a believer from a Muslim background, who was arrested on 17th February and charged on 4th March with adultery and apostasy. Recall that she is married to a Christian of South Sudanese origin. The couple have a young son (who is with Meriam in prison) and are expecting their second child later this month. The government does not recognise the couple's marriage, hence the adultery charge.

 

A further court hearing was held today (15th May). Meriam had been given three days to recant. However, at today's hearing she calmly confirmed to the judge that she remains a Christian. The judge accordingly confirmed the sentence for apostasy of death by hanging. He also sentenced her to 100 lashes for adultery. The death sentence is to be imposed two years after she gives birth to their second child.

 

The lawyer acting for Meriam is preparing an appeal which must be submitted within 15 days. Meriam's husband was not permitted to attend the court hearing today, and has been denied access to Meriam and their son in the prison.

 

Christians supporting this family give thanks for Meriam's faith and courage. They request our continued prayers that:
a.  Meriam, her husband, their son and their unborn child will know the peace, presence and protection of Jesus
b.  The appeal against the convictions and sentences will be successful
c.  Christians across Sudan will know the peace and presence of Jesus, the Spirit's daily guidance and be equipped to live without fear
d.  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.

Latest Requests

  • 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.

     

     
  • Sudan: pastor re-arrested

    Posted on 26th May

    On 18th January Middle East Concern reported the release of Pastor Kuwa Shamal of the Sudan Church of Christ. He was detained on 18th December and held for three days. After his release he was required to report to the security service (the NISS) on a daily basis until mid-January. After a reprieve of one month he was again told to report regularly to the NISS offices.

    Pastor Kuwa was re-arrested by the NISS on Tuesday 24th May . His case will be dealt with by the prosecutor together with a case against Pastor Hassan Abduraheem Taour and Abdulmonem Abdumawla Issa Abdumawla (a believer from a Muslim background from the Darfur area). The latter two are expected to face serious charges including espionage and undermining state security.

    Pastor Kuwa is one of several pastors from Sudan who had passports and communications devices confiscated by the NISS and were asked to report regularly to the NISS offices. They are being pressured to testify against the others who are due to be on trial. No date has been set for the trial, but it is expected to take place in the near future.

    Since July 2015 Middle East Concern has issued several prayer requests for the Evangelical Church in the Bahri area of Khartoum. Part of the land on which the church and its facilities are located was illegally sold to an investor by a committee instituted by the government. Subsequently part of the compound was demolished by court order. On Monday 23rd May the authorities informed the church that they planned to demolish further parts of the compound. However, a lawyer has obtained a court order to suspend demolition work until the appeals court has ruled in a case on the legality of the committee that sold the land.

    Sudanese Christians ask for prayer:
    a. that the detained church leaders will know the Lord's strength, comfort and wisdom during their ordeal
    b. for a fair judicial process, and that the charges against them will be dropped
    c. that other church leaders will know the Lord's peace in the face of the increasing pressure against them, and that intimidation and harassment of Christians will cease
    d. that 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.