Iranian Christians request prayer for four Christian converts from Muslim backgrounds who have been charged with action against national security. Three are due to appear in Rasht Court tomorrow (10th September) to face additional charges related to their Christian activities.
Yaser Mosibzadeh, Saheb Fadayee and Mohammad Reza Omidi, known as “Youhan”, were arrested at a house church gathering on 13th May and charged with “action against national security”. They were released on bail after several weeks in detention. Their pastor Yousef Nadarkhani and his wife Fatemeh (Tina) Pasandideh were arrested at the same time but were not detained. However, Yousef was also later charged with “action against national security”. All four are awaiting a summons to answer these charges in the Revolutionary Court.
In addition, Yaser, Saheb and Mohammed Reza face charges related to consumption of alcohol, for drinking wine during a communion service. It is presently unclear if Yousef will also be summoned to Rasht Court tomorrow (10th September) on the same charges. If found guilty, they are likely to receive a sentence of flogging.
In 2012 Mohammed Reza was one of a group of four Christians who were convicted of the same charge (consumption of alcohol) and sentenced to 80 lashes each. He received the punishment in November 2012.
Drinking alcohol is not illegal for Christians, but under applicable Islamic law it is prohibited for Muslims. The charges brought against Christian converts reflect the state view that a Muslim cannot change his / her religion.
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.
Iranian Christians request prayer that:
a) the charges of “acting against national security” will be dropped
b) Yaser, Saheb and Mohammed Reza will have their Christian faith recognised and will be acquitted of these new charges that apply to Muslims
c) Yousef Nadarkhani will not face similar charges of drinking communion wine
d) God will give His peace to the men and their families, and that they will not be anxious
e) all officials involved will love mercy, act justly, learn about Jesus and choose to follow Him