Iran Releases Two Christian Converts; Pastor Youcef Still Imprisoned
The ACLJ is encouraged to report that Iran has released two Christian prisoners from captivity. As you know, Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani is only one of many Christians persecuted in Iran. Like Pastor Youcef, these prisoners were detained solely for their Christian faith. On July 16, 2012, the regime released Noorollah Ghabizadeh, a 48-year-old Christian convert from Islam. The revgime had arrested Ghabizadeh along with 10 other converts at a Christmas party in December 2010. Ghabizadeh spent 19 months behind bars for simply standing firm in his faith for Christ. Reportedly, the regime subjected him to severe mental torture in an effort to cause him to leave his faith in Christianity. Sources report that Ghabizadeh was taken to trial in September 2011, with his hands and feet in chains . On June 16, 2012, the regime released Ehsan Behrooz, a 24-year-old student and convert from Islam. The regime had originally arrested Behrooz in July 2010. After spending three months in prison without being formally charged, the regime released him on bail. But less than a month later he went missing, only for his family to find out that he had been detained again. Despite the regime’s repeated threat that it would charge him with apostasy and its continued pressure that he sign a statement recanting his Christian faith, Behrooz remained resilient. Before his release, the regime had detained Behrooz for over eight months without contact with his family and held him in solitary confinement for 105 days . The prayers and voices of those standing for the persecuted church in Iran are being heard. As many more Christians remain imprisoned for their faith, we must continuously increase pressure and scrutiny of Iran’s flagrant disregard for human rights. Your prayers and involvement are making a difference. So we ask you to continue to pray, actively spread the word about Christians persecuted for their faith, and please join Tweet for Youcef . Let Iran know the world is watching. Let’s continue to put pressure on Iran. And, let’s continue to pray that all prisoners of conscience - including Pastor Youcef who’s been in captivity for more than 1,000 days – are set free.