Friends of Pastor Behnam Irani are pleased to announce that he has been released after six years’ imprisonment in Iran.
Behnam Irani of the self-styled “Church of Iran” was given a five-year suspended sentence in 2008, after he was charged with action against national security.
He was re-arrested in 2010 during a house church service, and in May 2011 he was summoned to serve a one-year prison sentence for new charges of action against national security, to which the suspended five-year sentence was later added.
Behnam was detained in Ghezel Hesar Prison in Karaj, and suffered serious health issues, many related to physical abuse he received at the hands of fellow prisoners. On 22nd February 2014 he was taken to hospital for an operation to staunch bleeding from the stomach and colon.
In September 2014 he was charged with “Mofsed-e-filarz” – a capital crime translated as “spreading corruption on Earth”. The Mofsed-e-filarz charge was dropped later that month and replaced by charges of “action against national security” and “creating a network to overthrow the system”, and he was put in solitary confinement. On 19th October 2014 Behnam was sentenced to a further six years in prison and exile to Zabol on the Afghanistan border. On 9th December 2014 the additional charges and sentence were dropped following an appeal.
In August 2016 Behnam was informed that he was due for release in October. He was released from prison yesterday evening (17th October).
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Friends are thankful for Behnam’s release, but request prayer that:
a. Behnam will soon be joyfully reunited with his wife Kristina and their children Rebecca and Adriel
b. God will help Behnam to adjust to life outside prison, and to recover physically and emotionally from his difficult time in detention
c. those still detained in Iran, those awaiting verdicts, and those expecting to be summoned to face charges related to their Christian faith and activities, will know God’s peace and protection
d. all officials involved will love mercy, act justly, learn about Jesus and choose to follow Him