(Voice of the Persecuted) IRAN: Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, once sentenced to death for apostasy, was charged on Sunday, July 24th with acting against national security. He was also accused of being Zionist and informed that he had no right to evangelise. On the same day, he was released on condition of raising 100 million Touman bail (US$ 33,000) within a week, or face arrest.
In 2009, Nadarkhani was initially arrested and charged with apostasy after questioning why his children’s school only taught Islam in their religious education, which he said was unconstitutional.
Since his release from prison in September 2012, Nadarkhani was arrested for second time on May 13th. His wife Tina was also arrested but released later that day. This was also the second time Nadarkhani has been arrested since his release from prison in September 2012. But three other Christians are were still being detained, following raids on a number of Christian homes in the northern city of Rasht. CSW also reported that the Christians had their Bibles, computers and mobile phones confiscated.
On multiple occasions, Yasser Mossayebzadeh, Saheb Fadaie and Mohammad Reza Omidi have been arrested. Omidi was initially detained in December 2012 and later sentenced to 80 lashes for allegedly drinking alcohol as part of Holy Communion. (Alcohol is banned in Iran.)
Yasser Mossayebzadeh and Saheb Fadaie were arrested on May 13 alongside Youcef Nadarkhani and his wife who had been released later that day, but Mossayebzadeh, Fadaie and Mohammad Reza Omidi, were detained.
MEC reports that Mossayebzadeh and Fadaie were each forced to pay the equivalent of $33,000 for bail and have been released. Omidi was not then given that option, though it is not yet clear why, but later he was also granted bail.
Since 2015, more than 150 Christians have been detained by the Iranian authorities. Many are in jail, while others, including Mossayebzadeh and Fadaie, have been released conditionally, pending sentencing or an appeal.
MEC’s Rob Duncan said the current pressure being placed on Christians in Iran is “not as much through open violence and arrests, as through fear and intimidation”.
“There are fewer raids on house churches, but instead people are summoned to security for interrogation,” he said. “There is a lot of pressure on people to leave the country as a result. Also, when people are arrested and charged, bail demands are high and can financially cripple a family.”
Iranian Ministry of Intelligence Denies Christian Prisoner Conditional Release
A Christian woman, Maryam (Nasim) Naghash Zargaran is nearly three years into her four year prison sentence for the same charge as Nadarkhani. Her request for unconditional release on health grounds has been turned down by an Iranian court. Mohabat News reported that the refusal is due to the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence does not want her freed.
The report states an Iranian court has refused to release Iranian female Christian prisoner, saying intelligence forces do not want her out of prison. This is while there are signs of her developing MS disease.
It is now [three] weeks since female Christian prisoner, Maryam (Nasim) Naghash Zargaran resumed her hunger strike and new reports indicate that her health is deteriorating quickly. Her body has become very weak, posing an ever increasing health risk due to her heart condition.
Clinical staff in prison have expressed their serious concern over her poor health condition.
Her family was able to visit her earlier and found that she even refuses to go to the prison clinic as the staff mistreat her there.
Last Wednesday prison physicians examined her in relation to her recent request for conditional release because of her health issues and compiled a health report for the court reviewing her release request.
The medical report confirmed her heart disease and even found traces of MS disease in her. Despite receiving this report, the Iranian court stated that officials at the Ministry of Intelligence do not want Ms. Zargaran to be released.
Christian prisoner, Maryam Naghash Zargaran resumed her hunger strike on July 5, 2016 asking for “immediate and unconditional release”.
On the sixth day of her hunger strike, Ms. Zargaran wrote a letter stating “it is the time now to break my three year silence”. She wrote of her illegal arrest and interrogation as well as the unjust handling of her case, leaving her no choice but to go on a hunger strike.
Recently, her mother pleaded with Iranian prison and judicial authorities in a short video to handle her daughter’s case justly and speedily. She also asked for her daughter’s release unconditional release as she suffers from serious health issues.
Ms. Zargaran’s mother said she has made every effort in her power for her release. She said, she been going to the authorities every day, without receiving a solid answer from them.
Ms. Zargaran is serving her prison sentence while suffering from various health conditions, including severe anemia, diabetes and high blood cholesterol. Her medical treatment has been inadequate as Iranian judicial authorities have not allowed her to receive much needed health care outside prison.
She was first called into the intelligence office for interrogation in the winter of 2011 where she was questioned about her Christian activities.
For updates on Nasim visit and share the Free Maryam Naghash-Zargaran – Nasim page on Facebook.
Reports obtained by Mohabat News indicate that three Azeri Christians were arrested on June 24, 2016, during their visit to Tehran, Iran’s capital. These believers entered Iran as tourists to visit their fellow Christian brothers and sisters. The Iranian Intelligence Police raided a residential house in the outskirts of Tehran where they were visiting and arrested them all, along with one of the Iranian believers. They were immediately transferred to an unknown location.
The Azerbaijani citizens who were arrested were identified as:
1- Bahram Nasibov, 37 years old and married
2- Yusif Farhadov, 52 years old and married
3- Eldar Gurbanov, 48 years old and married
In addition to the three Azeri men named above, all who were present in that house were arrested as well, but all except one were released after questioning and collection of their personal information, under the condition that they will report to the police immediately upon being called. READ MORE