On 24 June, an engagement ceremony in Iran was raided by security agents. While ten people were initially arrested, all but four were released.
UPDATE 9 November 2016: Relatives and friends of three Christians from Azerbaijan and an Iranian Christian are delighted to report that they have all been released from prison on bail, and the Azerbaijanis were able to travel back home on the 6th of November.
The four men were kept in solitary confinement for two months and interrogated. Their whereabouts were not made known, to the concern of family members. They were refused access to consular assistance or legal counsel during the initial period of their detention. In September they were transferred out of solitary confinement to shared cells in Ward 350 in Evin Prison, much to their mutual encouragement. They face charges of engaging in missionary activity and propaganda against the regime, but it is hoped that they will be acquitted of these charges.
In 2015, they were arrested, forced to undergo months of flawed court proceedings, facing the death penalty for so-called crimes against the state, and endured 8 months of imprisonment in a notoriously difficult prison in Sudan.
But South Sudanese pastors Peter Yen and Michael Yat say that those who imprisoned them, blessed them mightily.
Pastor Peter Yen (left) and Pastor Michael Yat, imprisoned for 8 months in Sudan.
This blog is from Open Doors Australia CEO, Mike Gore. Check out his blog here.
As I walked through the streets of Old Islamic Cairo everywhere I looked I saw passion, devotion and a spiritual discipline that I can’t help but acknowledge… sometimes it’s in the wrong things even the wrong God!
But every now and then as though a light piercing through the darkest of nights I saw it explode into life pointed in the right direction and at the right God and it was one of the most inspirational and contagious things I’ve ever seen.
True Passion causes people to risk everything… life, family, wealth and status all in a radical pursuit of God.
I recently spent time with 2 beautiful girls from Iran Miriam and Marzieyh. They were so desperate to share Christ with their nation they secretly distributed almost 20,000 Bibles in Tehran. Sadly, they were caught distributing these Bibles and placed into the notorious Evin Prison and sentenced to death by hanging. Continue reading
UPDATE: 14 October 2016
On 13 October 2016, Asia Bibi’s appeal against a death sentence for Blasphemy was scheduled to go before the Supreme Court in Pakistan, but has been delayed.
Asia was accused of blasphemy after an argument with two Muslim women in 2009 and has been in prison since. The blasphemy law in Pakistan carries only one penalty. Judges have no choice but a death sentence if a person is found guilty. The blasphemy law has long been used against minorities in the country, with false accusations often made against Christians.
Her case has been delayed with no date scheduled and a judge has excused himself from the case. This means she will remain in prison, awaiting a new trial date.
Keep praying for Asia and her family. While the process of appeals and situation in prison has not been good for Asia, a positive verdict could be a turning point for Christians in Pakistan. If Asia is found not guilty or it’s found that the investigation was flawed, it is likely that changes to the law will be proposed. Asia’s case has also brought a lot of attention to the law and made many in Pakistan call for changes.
Six years on from her initial arrest, Asia (Aasiya) Bibi is still waiting in prison for her final appeal before the highest court of appeal.
Asia was sentenced to death under Pakistan’s infamous blasphemy laws. That sentence was confirmed by several courts. Earlier this year, the Supreme Court allowed her a leave to appeal. In effect, this meant her death sentence was temporarily delayed until the Supreme Court rules on her case.
This may take six to eight years to happen.
Asia Bibi with two of her daughters (2010)