Two Christian pastors and a deacon have each been given six-year sentences by an Iranian court. A persecution watchdog group has expressed concern over the development, noting that the prisons are isolated and will force the men's families to travel great distances to see them.
"We are deeply concerned by the six-year sentences given to pastors [Benham] Irani and [Matthias] Haghnejad and deacon Silas Rabbani, and the fact that they will serve these sentences so far from their families and home towns," said Christian Solidarity Worldwide Chief Operating Officer Andy Dipper.
"We are particularly appalled by the extra six years given to pastor Irani, who has already endured ill-treatment whilst in prison and now faces nearly a decade in prison on trumped-up charges. We urge the Iranian government to release without delay every person who is imprisoned for their faith. Their incarceration contravenes international covenants guaranteeing freedom of religion or belief, to which Iran is party." more >>
A 26-year-old Iranian mother who was set to be executed on Tuesday for killing a man who attempted to rape her has reportedly been granted a last minute reprieve.
FoxNews.com reported that Rayhaneh Jabbari's execution was postponed on Tuesday following protests at Rajaiy Shahr Prison.
"I am currently handcuffed and there is a car waiting outside to take me for the execution of the sentence," Jabbari earlier told her mother while waiting to be sent to the prison facility to be hanged. more >>
More than 460 prayer vigils in 30 countries and territories next week are set to mark the two year anniversary of American pastor Saeed Abedini's imprisonment for his faith in Iran.
"The kids and I are longing to see Saeed returned home safely to us. The kids have been suffering for too long. Our family is ready. It is time," said Naghmeh Abedini, the pastor's wife.
"We are praying for a miracle. My hope is that, as thousands gather together on Sept. 26, our governments and leaders will be reminded of the importance of religious freedom for all and continue to pressure Iran to secure Saeed's release." more >>
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani spoke out against terror group ISIS in a recent interview, saying that the militants "want to kill humanity." He also harshly criticized American President Barack Obama's plan to fight ISIS with airstrikes but without any ground troops, calling it "ridiculous" and wondering whether Americans are not afraid to suffer casualties in the war.
"They want to kill humanity," Rouhani told NBC News about ISIS, which has declared the creation of an 'Islamic State' in the territory of Iraq and Syria, but has been denounced by a number of Islamic countries.
"And from the viewpoint of the Islamic tenets and culture, killing an innocent people equals the killing of the whole humanity. And therefore, the killing and beheading of innocent people, in fact, is a matter of shame for them and it's the matter of concern and sorrow for all the human and all the mankind." more >>
Pastor Behnam Irani, an evangelical Christian leader from Iran who is already serving six years in prison, has reportedly been hit by 18 new charges, including one of "spreading corruption on Earth," which carries the death penalty.
Christian Solidarity Worldwide Chief Executive Mervyn Thomas told BosNewsLife the group is "deeply concerned by the new charges against Pastor Irani," especially the charge of "spreading corruption on Earth."
Thomas added that the charges made against Irani and other Christian leaders are "tantamount to an indictment of Christianity itself and mark a renewed escalation in Iran's campaign against Persian Christians under the Rouhani presidency." more >>
U.S. Pastor Saeed Abedini is reportedly receiving death threats from ISIS jihadists at the Iranian prison where he is being held.
The militants have said that they will kill him because of his Christian faith, the American Center for Law and Justice reported in a press release. Abedini, who is being held at Rajai Shahr prison, spoke of the death threats with family members earlier this week.
While the ISIS militants are apparently being held in a separate section of the prison ward, they have managed on several occasions to make their way to the pastor's section on their way back from the prison yard, forcing Abedini to hide. more >>