Iranian Christians are thankful that Rokhsareh (Mahrokh) Ghanbari has been informed by prison authorities that she is released from her prison sentence.
Mahrokh was convicted of “propaganda against the system” after a hearing at Karaj Revolutionary Court on 27 July 2019 and sentenced to one year in prison. She was initially arrested shortly before Christmas 2018, when three agents from Iranian intelligence raided her home. She was detained ten days and endured intense interrogation.
In August 2019 US Vice President Mike Pence mentioned Mahrokh by name and in a Tweet demanded her freedom and indicated his support for religious minorities in Iran.
Mahrokh started serving her prison sentence at Kachui Prison, Karaj, on 14 October 2019. She was released temporarily for 36 days on 2 March because of the COVID-19 pandemic, having provided security of 30 million tomans (US$2,000). On 2 April prison authorities informed Mahrokh that she was no longer required to return to prison. It is expected that she will be able to reclaim the money put down as security.
With the outbreak of COVID-19 in Iran, around 85,000 prisoners have been released, including some Christians. However, those Christians convicted on political charges, such as ”acting against national security” have been refused release, along with other political prisoners.
Iranian Christians are happy for Mahrokh and her family, but request prayer that:
- Mahrokh will be able to reclaim the money put down as security without difficulty
- She will be healed from any trauma associated with her detention and return to “normal life”
- Those Christians detained on political charges who face exposure to COVID-19 infection in prison will know God’s protection and consolation and also be released
- The Iranian authorities will have wisdom in dealing with the COVID-19 crisis and refrain from targeting Christians or other religious minorities