From: Middle East Concern
On 23rd December we requested prayer for the protection of Christians in Iran over the period of Christmas and the (Western) New Year.
We regret to report that a number of arrests occurred on 24th and 31st December during raids on house fellowships. In addition, there were further pressures on recognised churches during December, with greater restrictions imposed to limit access so that only those from traditional Christian communities can attend, and to prevent use of Farsi, the national language, in Church activities.
On 24th December security agents raided a house-church gathering in East Tehran. The house-owner, Mr Hosseini, was arrested together with four other believers – Ahmad, Faegheh, Mastaneh and Amir-Hossein. The security agents confiscated books, CDs and computer and satellite TV receiving equipment. They also searched the home of neighbours who had observed the raid. The father of this neighbouring family was beaten and warned against publicising what they had witnessed. The whereabouts and situation of the five detainees is unknown.
On 31st December four more believers, Sara, Majid, Mostafa, and George, were arrested whilst meeting in George’s home in Karaj. They were reportedly beaten and a number of items were confiscated including a computer, satellite TV receiving equipment, family photograph albums, CDs and books
Earlier in December we reported that two believers, Farhad and Naser, serving one-year prison sentences had been released but two others arrested at the same time remained in prison. We are pleased to report that a third, Davoud, was released on 13th January. Shahnaz remains imprisoned. Recall that these four were detained following a raid on the officially recognised Assemblies of God church in Ahvaz during a service on 23rd December 2011. They were released on bail at different times. One year prison sentences were imposed in October 2012 and confirmed by a High Court in 2013. On 1st May 2013 they were summoned to begin serving their sentences. The time spent in detention between their arrest and release on bail is counted as part of the sentence.
Across Iran, at least 40 others are known to be in prison because of their Christian faith or activities. Some have been convicted and sentenced, though many have not yet been formally charged. Others have been released on bail and are awaiting hearings.
Iranian Christians request our prayers that:
a. Those detained will know the presence, peace and provision of Jesus, and be released soon
b. They will remain strong in the faith and clear in their witness, have access to Scriptures and be able to communicate with their families
c. Family members will know the comfort, peace and presence of Jesus
d. Davoud will know the presence of Jesus as he resumes normal living
e. Church leaders will know the Spirit’s wisdom concerning all aspects of public worship
f. All officials involved will love mercy, act justly, learn about Jesus and choose to follow Him.
Open sources used: Mohabat News
URL of this prayer request: http://www.meconcern.org/index.php/en/prayer-requests/692-iran-arrests-over-the-christmas-and-new-year