Iranian Christians are pleased to report that three of the five men arrested at a picnic in August have been conditionally released, and request prayer for them and for the release of the two still detained.
On Friday 26th August Ramiel Bet Tamraz (pictured), Amin Nader Afshar, Hadi Askary, Mohamad Dehnay and Amir Sina Dashti went with their wives and friends to Firuzkuh north of Tehran to go fishing and have a picnic. Security officials from the Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) raided the picnic and separated the men from the women. Amin Nader was beaten when he requested to see an arrest warrant.
The MOIS officials took the five men away and family members were not informed about their whereabouts for a long time, although eventually it transpired that they were being detained in Evin Prison in Tehran.
On 10th October Ramiel, Mohamad and Amin Nader were released after submitting bail equivalent to $33,000 each. They have not been informed of any charges that they face. However, the questioning during interrogation related to the activity of Ramiel’s father, Pastor Victor Bet Tamraz, as well as to individual Christian activity. Hadi and Amir Sina remain in detention and Hadi in particular has faced intense pressure during interrogation.
Assyrian Pastor Victor Bet Tamraz 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.
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The families and friends of these five men request our prayers that:
a. those still detained will know the presence, peace and provision of Jesus, and that they will also be released soon
b. no charges will be brought against the five men
c. those released will have joyful reunions with family and friends, and they will quickly recover from their time of imprisonment
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