Pastor Behnam Irani Temporarily Released

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Brother Behnam Irani

One of our sources has informed us that Ghezal Hezar Prison in Karaj, Iran has granted a 7 day release to Pastor Behnam Irani. At the end of the 7 days he will need to return to prison and finish serving his six year prison sentence. He was released today and will return to prison on the 16th. He will finish his 6 year prison sentence in October of this year.

However, our greatest concern is that in one of his verdicts it states that he is an apostate and worthy of death. They could potentially bring an additional charge against him in order to keep him in prison. We need your prayers for him on a daily basis. He is also facing several health problems, intestinal issues, back pain and weakening eyesight.

The judge who wrote brother Behnam’s verdict in 2008 wrote, “Considering the explicit confessions of the above mentioned individual [Irani] during the trial, that his father and mother were Muslims and he, himself, also opted for Islam when he reached maturity, and then left the holy religion of Islam and became a Christian. And that he also deceived a group of people into leaving Islam. Therefore as mentioned in … [Islamic religious text] … the above mentioned individual is definitely an innate apostate, and the sentence for innate apostasy is death.”

Brother Behnam is a pastor in the city of Karaj, responsible for a church of roughly 400 people through out Iran. He was sentenced to prison because of his ministry of leading Muslims to Christ.

He has been arrested and tried for “crimes” against national security twice, first in December 2006 and second April 2010. Basically, in this instance, crimes against national security is holding house church services and leading Muslims to Christ. The first time he was arrested was in December 2006. He was released on bail in January 2007.  On February 23, 2008 Branch 30 of the Appellate Court in Tehran gave him a five year suspended sentence. Since it was a suspended sentence he was not required to go to prison, but was free on a five-year probation.

On April 14, 2010 VEVAK officers came into a house church service, assaulted him and took him into custody. A service was taking place at the time and the security officials interrogated those attending as well as confiscating Bibles, Christian literature and DVD’s. Brother Behnam was in prison for two months then he was released on bail in June 2010. In January 2011 he was tried for and convicted of crimes against national security.

Please remember him in your prayers on a daily basis.

 

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