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.