Ramiel Bet Tamraz and a friend have each been sentenced to four months’ imprisonment for “acting against national security” by joining house churches.
Judge Ahmadzadeh oversaw the hearing on 18 June and delivered the verdict on 11 July. There is likely to be an appeal, with Ramiel’s lawyer asking for the sentence to be reduced or cancelled.
On 26 August 2016 Ramiel, a Christian from an ethnic Assyrian background, was arrested with four Christian convert friends as security officials from the Ministry of Intelligence and Security raided their picnic. They were detained in Evin Prison, Tehran, where all five men endured long periods of solitary confinement and intense interrogation. All were eventually released on bail and have since received prison sentences of varying terms.
Ramiel is the third person in his family facing court proceedings on account of his Christian identity and actions. His mother, Shamiram Isavi Khabizeh, is appealing a five-year prison sentence for “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.” His father, pastor Victor Bet Tamraz, is appealing a ten-year prison sentence for “acting against national security.”
Iranian Christians ask for prayer that:
(a) The judge will cancel the prison sentence or reduce the time
(b) The pressure against Ramiel’s family, possibly intended to force them to leave Iran, would cease
(c) Christians in Iran, whether ethnic Christians or converts, will have the freedom to live according to their faith without being treated as criminals
(d) Those responsible for the harassment, arrests and detention of Christians will repent of their actions