Iranian Christian to Authorities: ‘My Imprisonment Will Further the Gospel’
Naser Navard Gol-Tapeh, an Iranian convert to Christianity serving 10 years in prison for “missionary activities,” has written an open letter to Iranian authorities, asking how his Christian activities could be perceived as anti-state. He has been in Evin Prison know as Iran’s “torture factory” since January. Below, we share his story and this modern-day Paul’s powerful letter.
“Would it even be possible for a committed Christian–who was born and raised in Iran and whose forefathers lived in this land for thousands of years, and who is a servant to the God who has called him to a ministry of reconciliation–to act against the national security of his own country?” wrote Naser, who turned 57 in August.
“Is the fellowship of a few Christian brothers and sisters in someone’s home, singing worship songs, reading the Bible and worshipping God acting against national security?”
Naser was first arrested in June 2016 alongside three Azerbaijanis, following a raid on a wedding party. The four men were sentenced a year later, but the Azerbaijanis have not been forced to return to Iran to serve their sentences.
The ruling in Naser’s case was based on evidence provided by the Ministry of Intelligence. However, the documents containing the evidence were not given to Gol-Tapeh’s lawyer to view, nor were they presented during the trial, according to Mohabat News.
He lost his appeal against his sentence in November 2017 and was moved to Evin Prison in January.
Naser is among at least 15 Christians who are suffering in Evin Prison. In April Article 18, reported that he may lose all of his teeth if immediate medical treatment was not provided. Reportedly, his multiple requests for treatment have been denied each time.