Date: April 25, 2020
‘The LORD reigns forever; he has established his throne for judgment. 8 He rules the world in righteousness and judges the peoples with equity.9 The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.’ Psalm 9:9
As we pray for the nation of Iran this week, we do so with joy and thanksgiving that God reigns forever and is sovereign over every nation. We’re especially thankful for the news that many Iranian Christians have been released from prison, three of them just this month!
Pastor Amin Khaki was sentenced to 14 months in prison in March last year for “spreading propaganda against the Islamic Republic of Iran” and began serving his sentence last July. Rokhsare Ghanbari (Mahrokh) was arrested by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence in July 2019, and was subsequently sentenced to one year in prison on charges of “spreading propaganda against the system.”
Both were released temporarily due to the rapid spread of COVID-19 in Iran’s prison system, and were subsequently informed that they did not need to return to complete their sentences.
Fatemeh Bakhteri (Aylar) was sentenced to one year in prison on 22 September 2018 and was barred from social activities for two years after being found guilty of “spreading propaganda against the regime.” She was released temporarily after serving the first few months of her sentence, because of the spread of COVID-19, and was subsequently informed she had been pardoned for Persian New Year.
While we celebrate these releases, we continue to pray for those who remain unjustly imprisoned because of their religious beliefs, given the reported spread of COVID-19 in the prison system. Of particular concern are Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani, Pastor Matthias Haghnejad, Mohamedreza (Youhan) Omidi, Saheb Fadaie, Nasser Navard Goltape, Yasser Mossayebazeh, Shahrouz Eslamdoust, Babak Hosseinzadeh, Mehdi Khatabi, Behnam Akhlaghi and Majidreza Souzanchi.
In summary, please pray:
- Giving thanks for the release of Pastor Amin Khaki, Rokhsare Ghanbari and Fatemah Bakhteri.
- For protection for every prisoner of conscience, including Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani, Pastor Matthias Haghnejad and other incarcerated Christians, in the midst of the spread of COVID-19.
- For the release of Pastor Nadarkhani and Pastor Haghnejad, and all those who are unjustly imprisoned in Iran because of their religious belief.