Imprisoned since October 2009, Pastor Yousef was summoned to a court hearing held on Saturday, September 8th. At the hearing two major developments occurred; first, his previous conviction for apostasy was withdrawn and second, he was convicted on charges relating to evangelistic activities and sentenced to three years’ imprisonment. Because of time already served (two years and 11 months) the court accepted a bail payment (in the form of a salary guarantee document) and released him one month early. Soon after his release he was reunited with his wife, Fatemeh, and their two sons.
This is great news because Pastor Yousef, in September 2010, was found guilty of apostasy in by the Revolutionary Tribunal of Gilan Province and sentenced to death. This verdict was later upheld by the Supreme Court in July 2011. Then in September 2011 he faced further court hearings during which he refused to recant his Christian faith.
Iranian Christians are rejoicing that Yousef has been released and reunited with his wife, Fatemeh, and their two sons. Still however elsewhere in Iran, at least 16 others remain detained because of their Christian activities. Several are serving prison sentences of up to six years.
Pastor Yousef and his family are asking for your continued intercession on their behalf that:
- Yousef, Fatemeh, and their two sons will know the comfort, presence and peace of Jesus as they resume living together as a family.
- They, and those close to them, will know the Spirit’s guiding wisdom for their future.
- All believers in Iran facing trials because of their faith will know the Spirit’s guiding wisdom.
- Those who continue to be detained for their faith will know the presence and peace of Jesus, remain strong in their faith and clear in their witness and testimony.
- Christians throughout Iran will not be intimidated but will know the Lord’s enabling and guidance.
- All officials involved will love mercy, act justly, learn about Jesus and choose to follow Him.