The families and friends of five Iranian Christians arrested during a picnic and fishing expedition are deeply concerned for their welfare and are requesting prayer.
On Friday 26th August Ramiel Bet Tamraz (pictured), Amin Nader Afshar, Hadi Askary, Mohamad Dehnay and Amir Sina Dashti went together with their wives to Firuzkuh north of Tehran to go fishing and have a picnic. At about 1.30pm security officials from the Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) raided the picnic and separated the men from the women. Amin Nader Afshar asked to see the arrest warrant, which the officials did not produce, and Amin was then beaten.
The MOIS officials then took the five men away and family members have been unable to obtain information about their whereabouts.
Ramiel Bet Tamraz is the son of Assyrian Pastor Victor Bet Tamraz who was arrested on 26th December 2014 at a Christmas celebration at his home. Amin Nader Afshar was also arrested at the same time. Pastor Victor was charged verbally with “conducting evangelism”, “illegal house church activities” and “Bible printing and distribution”. He was released on bail on 1st March 2015. Amin had been released on bail in February 2015. They are both expecting to be summoned to court to face charges related to their Christian activity.
Family members see no reason for the arrests apart from the connection to the arrest of Pastor Victor and Amin (and one other) at the Christmas celebration in Pastor Victor’s home in 2014.
It is feared that the aim of the MOIS officials is to force confessions and to extract “evidence” against the victims of the 2014 Christmas arrests.
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.
The families and friends of these five men request our prayers that:
a. those detained will know the presence, peace and provision of Jesus, will be able to answer their interrogators with wisdom, and will be released soon
b. they will remain strong in their faith and clear in their witness
c. family members will know the comfort, peace and presence of Jesus
d. the charges against Pastor Victor and Amin will be dropped
e. all officials involved will love mercy, act justly, learn about Jesus and choose to follow Him