(Photo: Present Truth Ministries)
A Christian persecution watchdog has started a new campaign pledging support for a pastor in a critical medical state and currently imprisoned in Iran, as well as the many other believers facing persecution around the world.
"As you read this, Pastor Behnam Irani's health is in critical condition and there is a very real chance he will die in Ghezel Hesar prison if he remains in his current condition," Christian Solidarity Worldwide explains in a statement shared with The Christian Post by Kiri Kankhwende, press officer for the organization.
Pastor Irani was arrested back in 2011, allegedly for acting against the interests of national security, although persecution watch groups have maintained that the real reason was for his preaching of the Gospel and leading people to Christ in the largely Islamic country. He had been leading the Church of Iran in the city of Karaj in Alborz Province, and is currently serving a six-year sentence in Ghezel Hesar prison.
Several reports on Irani's condition in jail noted that he has been beaten and is suffering from a bleeding ulcer, but is being denied proper treatment. According to the latest information from CSW, the 41-year-old pastor's condition is getting worse, and he needs urgent help and prayers.
"He is bleeding severely from acute stomach ulcers and colon complications, can barely walk, and has problems with his vision. The brutal beatings he's received from prison authorities and other inmates have resulted in horrific injuries, and he urgently needs medical help," CSW has said.
"He could die in the next few months if he doesn't get the treatment he needs. And he shouldn't be in prison in the first place: he was charged with political crimes to cover up the fact that he was arrested because he's a Christian and a church leader."
As for what can be done to help the pastor, a father of two, and other imprisoned Christians around the world, CSW insisted that "the louder the noise the international community makes, the more likely it is that prisoners will be treated properly according to international standards, and the more likely it is that those unfairly imprisoned will be freed."
The organization provides links on its website to contact information for the head of Iran's judiciary and demand urgent treatment for Pastor Irani and plead for his release from prison.