In July 2017, Pastor Victor Bet-Tamraz was sentenced to ten years in prison. Arrested in 2014 during a Christmas celebration, he was convicted of evangelism, illegal house-church activities and "acting against national security" (read more). In June 2017, his wife Shamiram was also arrested and received a sentence of five years.
Since their conviction, they have faced multiple appeal hearings, only to be notified of their cancellation for various reasons. The couple's latest hearing, scheduled for July 1st, was likewise cancelled. Then on July 19th, Pastor Victor was informed by his lawyer that their final appeal had been rejected. Both Pastor Victor and Shamiram received notification on August 11th that they had five days to turn themselves in to Iran's notorious Evin Prison.
Reports have recently surfaced that the couple fled the country on August 15th, the day before the deadline. Their daughter Dabrina lives in Switzerland and will not disclose their location for safety reasons. However, she assures people that they are "safe and well." The couple regrets having to leave their homeland but, considering the harsh conditions at the Evin Prison, felt it was necessary at their age. They intend to resume their attempts to clear their names from abroad with hopes of returning to Iran if the charges are dropped.
"We continue to pray and hope for their sentences to be dropped," states Dabrina. "We pray for justice -- both for my parents and for all believers suffering in prisons." To learn more about the persecution of Christians in Iran, go to country report.
Praise God that Pastor Victor and Shamiram have found a place of refuge until their case is justly resolved. Pray that efforts to clear their names will be successful. Continue to prayerfully uphold the many Christians presently suffering in Iranian prisons, along with numerous others who are facing oppression and an uncertain future because of their faith in Christ.