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Iran: Concern rises for two Christian couples jailed since September

ICC Note:

Release International reports that Pastor Vahik Abrahamian and his wife Sonia Keshish-Avanesian and Arash Kermanjani and his wife Arezo Teymouri, who were arrested on September 4, have been accused of propagating Christianity, opposing the Islamic Republic of Iran, and having contact with exiled opposition figures. Iranian Christians are calling for prayer and advocacy on their behalf.

3/1/2011 Iran (Release International) – Release contacts say they are increasingly concerned for two Christian couples imprisoned in Iran and are calling for prayer and advocacy on their behalf.

Pastor Vahik Abrahamian and his wife Sonia Keshish-Avanesian were with their friends, Arash Kermanjani and his wife Arezo Teymouri, when all four were detained on September 4.

The two couples, who are close friends, were arrested at the Abrahamians’ home in Hamadan, west Iran, and taken initially to the Ministry of Islamic Guidance prison.

For the first 40 days, they were held in solitary confinement and reportedly suffered physical abuse and psychological pressure. Pastor’s wife Sonia, who was pregnant when she was arrested, is said to have suffered a miscarriage – her fourth.

The couples, who are now being held in Hamadan prison, are reported to have been accused of various offences, including propagating Christianity, opposing the Islamic Republic of Iran, and having contact with exiled opposition figures.

Release contacts have expressed concern about the couples’ well-being – and about their prospects for justice. They are now asking Christians in the West to write polite letters of concern to the Iranian authorities, asking for their immediate release.

Pressure on Iranian house churches appears to have increased since Ayatollah Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader, branded home-based churches a new threat to the regime in a speech last October.

Pray:

• Pray for the immediate release of these four Christians from Hamadan. Ask God to comfort and heal them after their ordeal – and bless their ministry.

• Pray for a change of heart among Iranian officials who appear to equate home-based churches with a threat to national security.

[Release International]