Iranian Christians request prayer prior to a second court hearing for Yousef Nadarkhani, Yaser Mosibzadeh, Saheb Fadayee and Mohammed Reza Omidi on charges of action against national security.
Yaser, Saheb and Mohammed Reza were arrested at a house church gathering in Rasht 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 were summoned to the Revolutionary Court in Rasht on 15th October, but the judge did not issue a verdict. The second hearing is scheduled for 14th December.
In addition, Yaser, Saheb and Mohammed Reza faced charges related to consumption of alcohol, for drinking wine during a communion service. (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.) After a court hearing on 10th September, they were each sentenced to 80 lashes, but they are appealing this verdict. The appeal hearing is scheduled for 9th February 2017.
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Iranian Christians request prayer that:
a. the four men will be acquitted of the charges of acting against national security
b. the appeal in February against the sentence of 80 lashes for consumption of alcohol will be successful in 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 only.
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