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 Pastor Victor bet Tamraz and his wife, Shamiram Isavi Khabizeh - Photo: Farsi Christian News Network
Pastor Victor bet Tamraz and his
wife, Shamiram Isavi Khabizeh
Photo: Farsi Christian News Network

An appeal hearing has been scheduled for September 3rd to review the convictions of Christians sentenced because of their faith. Initial reports indicated a combined hearing for three related long-standing cases, each involving a member of the same family.

The first case involves Pastor Victor bet Tamraz, along with two Christian converts, Amin Nader Afshari and Kevian Fallah Mohammadi. The three were arrested during a Christmas celebration in 2014 and each received sentences of ten years (read more).

Pastor Victor's wife, Shamiram Isavi Khabizeh, was sentenced in January 2018 to five years in prison for allegedly "acting against national security and against the regime by organizing small groups, attending a seminary abroad, and training church leaders and pastors to act as spies." Their son, Ramiel, was arrested along with four converts during a picnic in August 2016 (see this report). Although Ramiel only received a four-month sentence, it left him with a criminal record, leading to this appeal.

While it appeared the appeal hearing would be for all those involved, only Kevian and Shamiram received a summons to appear as of August 29th. The family is disappointed that the other appeals have been delayed but believe it is intended to pressure the family to leave Iran.

Pray that the upcoming appeals will be successful and that all charges against the accused Christians will be dropped, in hopes the appeals of the others will be heard soon. As these faithful believers seek to serve Christ, whether in prison or elsewhere, may they receive ongoing encouragement, peace, patience and strength. In addition, please remember the many other Christians throughout Iran who are continuing to share the Gospel message despite the opposition they encounter on a regular basis.

Current Ministry Fund

By funding television broadcasts, VOMC is making it possible for a vast audience of viewers to be reached throughout Iran with the "Good News" of Jesus' love via satellite.

Project Fund: Underground Church

Country Information

Designation
Persecuted

Population
85,888,910 (July 2021 est.)

Ethnicity
Persian, Azeri, Kurd, Lur, Baloch, Arab, Turkmen and Turkic tribes

Religion (%)
Islam (99.6), other, including Christian (0.3), Unspecified (0.2)

Leader
President Ebrahim Raisi (2021)

Government type
Theocratic republic

Legal system
Religious legal system based on secular and Islamic law

Source: CIA World Factbook

Pray for Iran

As the Gospel message goes forth over the airwaves, may the growth of the church continue to multiply despite persecution. Pray that the Iranian government will be open to change, allowing full rights and protection for its non-Muslim citizens as well. In the meantime, may those who are forced to flee the country find safe refuge and help so they can live in peace and worship the Lord with freedom.

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