On 26 August, MEC requested prayer for an appeal court hearing scheduled for 3 September in which three separate cases would be considered. The judge failed to attend the hearing and so the hearing has been postponed, with no new date yet scheduled.
The first of the three cases involves Assyrian Pastor Victor bet Tamraz and Persian Christian converts Amin Nader Afshari and Kavian Fallah Mohammadi (arrested at a Christmas celebration in December 2014). The second also involves Amin Nader Afshari, who was re-arrested in August 2016 with another convert, Hadi Asgari, and Ramiel bet Tamraz (Pastor Victor’s son), together with two others. The third case involves Shamiram Issavi Khabizeh, Pastor Victor’s wife, who was initially summoned for questioning by the authorities in June 2017 and sentenced in January 2018 to five years’ imprisonment for ‘acting against national security,’ and ‘acting against the regime by organising small groups, attending a seminary abroad and training church leaders and pastors to act as spies.’
The presiding judge, Ahmed Zargar, indicated at a hearing for Shamiram Issavi Khabizeh on 19 February that the three cases would be combined for the 3 September appeal hearing. However, it was unclear for the defendants who was actually due to be summoned to attend.
Iranian Christians request continued prayer that:
- all defendants in the three cases will eventually be acquitted of all charges against them.
- the Lord will strengthen and encourage all Iranian Christians who are falsely accused of acts against national security simply because of their Christian faith and activities.