Iranian Christians thank the Lord that Pastor Matthias (Abdolreza Ali Haghnejad) was released from Anzali Prison, near Rasht, pending a review of his conviction.
Matthias is one of nine Christian converts arrested in Rasht in January and February 2019. In October 2019 they were each sentenced to five years’ imprisonment for “acting against national security” on account of their house church involvement.
Following an unsuccessful appeal, in February 2020 those who had been released on bail were summoned to Evin Prison, Tehran, to join the others not permitted conditional release. Matthias was transferred to Anzali prison on 17 August 2021 and released on 30 December.
On 24 November 2021 the Iranian Supreme Court ordered a review of the sentences, stating that involvement in house churches should not be considered a crime against national security.
It is hoped that the other Christian converts from Rasht detained in Evin Prison will also be released in the coming days pending the review of their sentences by a Revolutionary Court.
Iranian Christians are thankful for the release of Matthias in accordance with the Supreme Court ruling and ask for prayer that:
- The other eight Christian converts (Khalil Deghanpour, Hossein Kadivar, Kamal Naamanian, Mohammad Vafadar, Mohammad “Shahrooz” Eslamdoust, Babak Hosseinzadeh, Mehdi Khatibi and Behnam Akhlaghi) sentenced with Matthias will be released from Evin soon.
- The court review will acknowledge the Supreme Court’s ruling that house church membership should not be considered a crime against national security.
- All religious communities in Iran will be able to peacefully and freely practice their faith in accordance with national and international law.