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News / Thoughts

Iran: Prison for two women involved in house churches

May 9, 2022

Please pray for two Christian women – one of whom is recently married – who have recently begun two-year prison sentences simply for their involvement in church activities.

Fariba Dalir and Sakine (Mehri) Behjati are both converts and started their sentences on Easter weekend. Fariba is in Iran’s notorious Evin Prison in the capital Tehran, while Sakine is in Lakan Prison in the northern city of Rasht.

Image: Recently married Fariba started her prison sentence on Easter Weekend

Imprisoned for starting a church

Fariba was arrested in July 2021 along with five other Christians, including Soroush who was then her fiancé. The couple and three others were sentenced in December, while a 17-year-old girl was released after spending ten days in solitary confinement and being subjected to intense interrogation.

In the end, only Fariba has ended up in prison for ‘acting against national security by establishing and leading an Evangelical Christian church’.

Fariba and Soroush got married while awaiting their sentencing and will now be separated for two years.

Mehri Behjati was among a different group of four Christian converts arrested in February 2020 for involvement in a house church in Rasht. They received between two and five years in prison for ‘acting against national security’ and ‘spreading Zionist Christianity’. Behjati was handed a two-year sentence. Her appeal was rejected by Iran’s Supreme Court.

Unpredictable justice system

The news is a setback to Iran’s minority Christian population after the encouragement that came earlier this year with the acquittal of nine Christians prisoners for participation in a house church. This was after Iran’s Supreme Court ordered a review of the sentences, saying that sharing the Christian faith in a private home was not ‘acting against national security’.

These recent verdicts highlight the unpredictability of Iran’s justice system, extending even to the country’s Supreme Court. It means that, as Christians across the country continue to bravely gather in homes for worship, Bible teaching and fellowship, they still do so at great risk.

Iran is number nine on the World Watch List, making it still one of the most dangerous countries in the world to be a Christian.

Pray now…

  • That Fariba, Mehri and all other Christian prisoners will be sustained by God’s strength
  • That Iran’s justice system will be stirred and provoked to overturn the sentences of more Christian prisoners
  • That our Iranian family will not grow discouraged, and pray that the tentative steps towards religious freedom will be built upon and not reversed.

Four things you can do now:

1. Learn more and pray: Get our free glow-in-the-dark World Watch List Map and find out more about the places where faith costs the most. Get your map here…
2. Pray regularly: Every Monday night at 7pm we’ll be praying one prayer for one minute for the one in seven Christians around the world who face persecution. Set an alarm and tune in…
3. Choose to Lose: Raise money by getting sponsored to lose something you love for a short time. Sign up and we’ll send you a fundraising pack…
4. Send a message of hope: Imagine getting a letter from a Christian on the other side of the world who’d heard about you and was praying for you – encouraging right? Well, you can send encouragement now to young Christians facing persecution. Do that here now…

Source: Article 18

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