Iranian Christians still waiting to hear if they’ll be whipped

Next time you take communion at church spare a thought – and a prayer – for three Christians in Iran who may be whipped as a punishment for taking communion wine.

The men have appealed against the sentence but if their appeal fails they will receive 80 lashes each.

The lawyer for Yaser Mosibzadeh, Saheb Fadayee and Mohammad Reza Omidi attended a hearing on Thursday during which they made their appeal against the brutal sentence handed down in September. Please pray that the appeal judge will overturn their sentence when he gives his verdict expected within 20 days.

The three men were arrested in Rasht in May as they celebrated communion. Their lawyer insists it is not illegal in Iran for Christians to drink wine, only Muslims. The three men have a Muslim background.

The three have also been charged with ‘acting against national security’. Iranian officials have threatened further charges if the men meet together or share the gospel with others.

Meanwhile, Christian converts Amin Nader Afshar and Hadi Askary have gone on hunger strike inside Tehran’s Evin Prison unless they receive adequate medical care and a fair trial soon. Hadi is reported to have a kidney infection which has not been treated.

They have been behind bars since their arrest last August, at a picnic in Firuzkuh, but have not yet been charged, despite weeks of interrogation. The other three men arrested with them posted substantial bail and were released.
  • Pray that the appeal judge will scrap the earlier sentence against Yaser, Saheb and Mohammad. Pray that no other charges will be brought against them.
  • Pray that God will protect and heal Amin and Hadi. Amin’s hunger strike has caused his blood pressure to drop dramatically. Pray that they and their three friends will be tried and acquitted soon.
  • Pray that every Christian behind bars in Iran will know that God will prove wrong every false word spoken against them (Isaiah 54:17).

(Source: Middle East Concern)

UPDATE

Praise God that great things can happen when our church family stands together. We’re delighted to report that our Chinese sister Huang Yan has received vital surgery for ovarian cancer. Gifts from across the world, following an appeal for donations, enabled her to travel abroad for treatment; Chinese medics had refused to operate, apparently because of her human rights work. Thank God Huang does not need chemotherapy: pray for her full recovery. (Source: China Aid)