2 Christian prisoners miraculously freed in Iran

October 25, 2022 by Becca Anderson in Asia

Praise God with us! Your prayers and the millions of prayers raised by the worldwide Church have set captives free! Article 18 is reporting that two Christian prisoners held in Tehran’s notorious Evin Prison—known as Iran’s “torture factory”—were suddenly released without explanation.

 

Our 61-year-old brother Nasser Narvad Gol-Tapeh has served nearly 2,000 days—five years of his 10-year sentence. His “crime?” Participating in house church meetings, an act the Iranian regime calls “acting against national security.” Nasser has been very vocal in protesting his arrest and imprisonment, but the regime has repeatedly denied his applications for retrials and parole.

A year ago, his elderly mother made an emotional video plea for his release, saying she was afraid she would die without seeing her son. Still, Nasser languished another 440 days until, in a surprise move on October 17, he was pardoned and released! His stunned family got a phone call from him to tell them the amazing news, and to ask them to pick him up from prison. It’s hard to imagine what a reunion that was!

One day after Nasser’s release, our sister Fariba Dalir, a 51-year-old wife, mother and house church planter, was also unexpectedly pardoned and released from Evin Prison. After her initial arrest in July 2021, Fariba spent more than 200 days in detainment, including more than a month in solitary confinement. Her sentence in Evin Prison began April 16 of this year. She was charged with “acting against national security by establishing and leading an evangelical Christian church.”

Upon her release, Fariba returned to her overjoyed husband, Saroush, and their daughter Arezoo. Despite their happiness in being together, the three also realize that things are very dangerous still for those left behind in Evin.

Two days before Nasser was released, a fire broke out in Ward 7 when government protesters shot explosives targeting the prison. At least four prisoners died in the fire (original reports said 40). Protests have raged across Iran for a month a young Kurdish woman, Mahsa Amini, 22, was arrested for wearing her head scarf “improperly” and died in police custody. The attack on the prison, a focus of outrage among civilian protesters, inadvertently put prisoners in danger.

The family of one of the Christian prisoners in a Ward next to the fire told Article 18 that they were on the phone with their loved one when they heard gunshots and the phone disconnected.

“We wept until the morning,” the family said.

Thankfully, their loved one was safe, along with the other Christians in Evin, who were forced to use  whatever they could find to prevent the fire from spreading into their area. Another 10 Christians remain in Evin Prison, including 64-year-old Homayoun Zhavey, who suffers from advanced Parkinson’s disease, and his wife Sarah Ahmadi. Both were arrested as members of a house church and charged and convicted for “acting against national security.” The world waits to see if they, along with the eight other Christian prisoners of conscience in Evin Prison, will be released, as well.

Article18 reports that at least eight more Christians remain in other prisons throughout Iran or in exile. But the real numbers are likely higher because some cases are not reported publicly.

Join with us as we rejoice over the release of Nasser and Fariba—and petition the Lord to swing open prison doors in Iran and set all the captives free (Luke 4:13).

 

How you can pray for our family in Iran

  • Lift up the remaining prisoners in their daily struggle to survive. Pray for their health and protection. Ask God to turn the guards’ attention away from them and protect them from abuse.
  • Pray for a Paul and Silas moment (Acts 16)—that the Holy Spirit would move in the minds and hearts of prison officials as they witness the captives’ faith.
  • Pray that God would increase hope and faith in the hearts of the families of Christian prisoners as they miss their loved ones and endure the hardship of their absence in their lives. Pray for the wives of prisoners forced to raise and care for their families on their own.
  • Pray the public outcry in Iran is not only heard but also is acted on at the highest levels. May there be fresh winds of religious freedom and toleration in Iran and throughout the Middle East.
  • Petition the Lord to keep the eyes of the world on the protests and injustices in Iran, holding the hardline Islamic regime accountable for their actions against the Iranian people.

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