A Christian pastor is among 30 prisoners who were badly beaten during a raid in Iran's notorious Evin Prison last week, when prison guards are said to have assaulted inmates who protested against an aggressive inspection.
"CSW is extremely concerned by the reported events in Evin Prison. The treatment meted out to these prisoners is unacceptable and is in clear violation of Iran's obligations under article 10 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which states that prisoners should be treated with humanity and with respect for their inherent human dignity. We call on the authorities to thoroughly investigate this incident, sanctioning those responsible," Christian Solidarity Worldwide Chief Operating Officer Andy Dipper said.
According to the Christian watchdog group, Evangelical church leader Farshid Fathi, who is serving six years in prison for what it says are false political charges, suffered a broken foot and toe during the raid. At least 29 other prisoners were also reportedly wounded, with injuries ranging from fractured skull to broken ribs and limbs. more >>
Pastor Saeed Abedini, who is currently serving eight years in prison in Iran, has written an Easter message to Christians around the world, calling them to die to themselves and to selfish desires in order to experience the resurrection with Jesus Christ.
"Sometimes we want to experience the Glory and resurrection with Jesus without experiencing death with Him. We do not realize that unless we pass through the path of death with Christ, we are not able to experience resurrection with Christ," Abedini wrote in a message shared by the American Center for Law and Justice, which represents his wife, Naghmeh, and two children in the U.S.
"We want to have a good and successful marriage, career, education and family life (which is also God's desire and plan for our life). But we forget that in order to experience the Resurrection and Glory of Christ we first have to experience death with Christ and to die to ourselves and selfish desires." more >>
A Syrian Christian mother said the country's civil war is continuing in full force, with street bombings and deaths an everyday occurrence. The mother said she is praying to God constantly, but is getting "tired of praying" and "tired of crying" in the midst of the hopelessness of the situation.
"Sometimes it seems like there is no end to all this misery. I know God is in control, but sometimes I feel so hopeless. I regularly fall on my knees and cry out to Him about why all of this is happening," the mother, identified by persecution watchdog Open Doors USA as Hanna, said.
Open Doors USA, which is providing help to Syrian refugees, noted that at least 120,000 people have lost their lives in the past three years in the war between President Bashar al-Assad and rebel forces determined to take down his government. more >>
Palestinian Christians are complaining that Israeli authorities have intentionally excluded them from Holy Week celebrations in East Jerusalem by limiting entry permits to the week's festivities.
According to a report from Radio Bethlehem, the government requires special entry permits for Palestinians hoping to join Palm Sunday celebrations, but arbitrarily distributes them. Consequently "in many cases, when families apply to get permits through their churches, Israel deliberately grants some family members permits and denies permits to others, and therefore, the whole family won't be able to attend."
In a rare and powerful act of forgiveness, an Iranian mother and her husband forgave the man who killed their 18-year-old son during a street brawl seven years ago, then spared his life just moments before he was to be publicly executed for his crime.
Photographs taken by Arash Khamooshi of the Iranian Students' News Agency captured the emotional moments when the parents of Abdollah Hosseinzadeh forgave Balal Abdullah, who is now in his 20s according to The Guardian.
The victim's parents were supposed to push a chair on which Balal stood with a noose hanging around his neck to effect qisas, the sharia law of retribution. more >>