Iranian Christians are requesting prayer for four Iranian Christian converts, including two sisters, who have been detained in the southwestern city of Ahvaz since December 2.
Reportedly, about 13 plain-clothed members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (a branch of Iran’s armed forces) raided four homes on the morning of December 2, arresting Farzad Behzadi, 30, Abdollah Yousefi 34, and the two sisters Shima Zanganeh, 27, and Shokoofeh Zanganeh, 30, confiscating their books, phones and computers.
The sisters, Shima and Shokoofeh, were taken to security offices in Ahvaz for interrogation and reportedly were physically assaulted during the questioning. On Wednesday, December 12, the young women were transferred to Sepidar Prison, part of Iran’s notorious prison network known for its cruel and brutal treatment of prisoners of conscience. A judge has set an extremely high bail of 500 million Toman (about $44,000) for each woman.
The whereabouts of Farzad and Abdollah remain unknown.
The arrests are part of the recent intense crackdown on Christians ahead of Christmas. Open Doors recently reported that more than 100 Iranian Christians had been arrested in one week (a total of 150 in the last month). The onslaught of arrests is part of the government’s attempt to “warn” Christians against sharing their faith over Christmas, Mansour Borji, advocacy director of religious freedom organization Article 18, told World Watch Monitor.
Praying Alongside Christians in Iran
Pray specifically that:
- The Lord will strengthen and encourage these four Christians and enable them to answer their interrogators wisely.
- The whereabouts of Farzad and Abdollah will be made known and that all four will be released soon.
- Friends and family will also know God’s care and protection at this time.
- The Iranian officials responsible for the violation of the religious rights of Iranian citizens will treat those in detention justly, respecting their dignity.
representative photos used for security reasons