Iran: Pastor’s wife joins husband in jail

Source:               www.worldwatchmonitor.org

Date:                    January 12, 2018

 

The wife of an Iranian pastor sentenced to ten years in jail has been given a five-year sentence of her own.

Shamiram Isavi Khabizeh, the wife of Victor Bet-Tamraz, was convicted of “acting against national security and against the regime by organising small groups, attending a seminary abroad and training church leaders and pastors to act as spies”, according to Christian advocacy group Middle East Concern.

She will appeal against the sentence, which was given at a Revolutionary Court in Tehran, the Iranian capital, on 6 January.

Khabizeh was first detained in June last year, then released on bail after paying the equivalent of $30,000.

Her husband, who was sentenced in July last year for “acting against national security by organising and conducting house-churches”, is currently awaiting the result of his own appeal.

The couple’s son, Ramil, is also facing charges – of “acting against national security” and “organising and creating house churches”, as well as charges relating to his father’s ministry.

Last year over a dozen Iranian Christians – most of them converts to Christianity – were given prison sentences of between 10 and 15 years for “acting against national security”.

Two of them, Amin Afshar-Naderi and Hadi Asgari, were due to hear the result of their own appeals on 27 December, only for them to be postponed.

Afshar-Naderi was released on bail last year after writing an open letter to the authorities, asking what he had done to “make you hate me this much” and declaring that he had decided to “terminate my life slowly” through a hunger strike.

Iran is 10th on the newly released Open Doors 2018 World Watch List, which ranks the 50 countries where it is most difficult to live as a Christian.

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