Iranian Christians request prayer for three believers from Muslim backgrounds who have been sentenced to 80 lashes each for drinking wine in a communion service.
Yaser Mosibzadeh, Saheb Fadayee and Mohammed Reza Omidi (known as Youhan) were arrested at a house church gathering in Rasht on 13th May and charged primarily 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 expected to answer these charges in the Revolutionary Court in Rasht on 15th October.
In addition, Yaser, Saheb and Mohammed Reza faced charges related to consumption of alcohol, for drinking wine during a communion service. Mohammed Reza had been one of a group of four believers from Muslim backgrounds who received 80 lashes for the same charges in 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.
Yaser, Saheb and Mohammed appeared in court on 10th September to face the charges related to consumption of alcohol, but the verdict has only just been obtained by their lawyer. They are appealing against the verdict.
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Iranian Christians request prayer that:
a. the appeal against the sentence will be successful, and that the Christian faith of the three men will be recognised by the court and they will be acquitted of these charges that apply to Muslims
b. the three men, as well as Yousef Nadarkhani, will be acquitted of the charges of acting against national security
c. God will give His peace to the men and their families, and that they will not be anxious
d. all officials involved will love mercy, act justly, learn about Jesus and choose to follow Him