Four non-Trinitarian Christians Released As Christmas Approaches
Unlike previous years when the Islamic regime of Iran traditionally arrested, interrogated and harassed Christians near Christmas time, the Revolutionary Court acquitted four non-Trinitarian Christian convicts of their charges, reports Mohabat News.
According to reports, the Islamic Revolutionary Court acquitted four non-Trinitarian Christians of their charges. This is an unusual move on the part of the Iranian Authorities to release Christians in the Christmas season.
The two men had been arrested for evangelism only a short time apart. The initial court sentenced each to six years in prison. The court ruling stated that they should serve their prison terms in exile in the town of Minab, near Bandar-Abbas, in southern Iran.
Just two weeks ago, their lawyer, Mr. Vahid Meshkani Farahani, appealed the decision of the initial court within the given time frame. Mr. Farahani had not been given a chance to visit his clients before the hearing.
Both men named above are members of a non-Trinitarian group that call themselves "Church of Iran". They are followers of a twentieth century American preacher, William M. Branham. This group openly denounces several fundamental Christian principles, including the trinity and baptism in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Two More Released from Karoun Prison in Ahwaz
A separate report stated that Hossein Barounzadeh (Daniel), and Rahman Bahmani (Zia), were released from Karoun prison in Ahwaz after nearly ten months behind bars. The two had been arrested on March 5, 2014 along with six other non-Trinitarian Christians in Shush in Khuzestan province.
A report on their arrest said that Iranian intelligence officers arrested a total of eight non-Trinitarian Christians, named Amin Khaki, Hossein Barounzadeh, Rahman Bahmani, Hossein Etemadfar, Mohammad Bahrami, Salimeh Rahimi (Martha), Fatemeh Bagheri and Amineh Maela, near Sush on March 5. At the time, all detainees were transferred to the Intelligence Office in Ahwaz. Five of them were released within a few hours, soon after they signed a disclaimer. The other three were moved to Karoun prison a few days after their arrest.
Of the three who were sent to Karoun prison, Amin Khaki still remains in prison for alleged "action against national security".
This release of four Christian converts near Christmas seems like a new direction in the treatment of Christians by the Islamic regime of Iran. This change seems to be the result of intensifying Christian activists' watch over the Iranian government's treatment of Christians. It had become an annual habit of the Islamic regime of Iran to intimidate Christians and ramp up their persecution near Christmas and New Year. Every year around Christmas there would be reports of Christian worship gatherings for Christmas being raided, Christians being summoned, arrested and harassed.
A large number of Christians still remain in Iranian prisons, without the faintest hope of being released to spend this Christmas with their families.
This year also marks the second Christmas that the largest Farsi-speaking Church in Iran, the Central Assemblies of God Church in Tehran has been closed. Other Assemblies of God churches in Ahwaz, Shahin-Shahr, Esfahan, Kermanshah, Urumiah and Janat-abad (in Tehran) have also been shut down and even in some cases their leaders forced to leave the country. Anglican and Evangelical churches in Esfahan, Shiraz and Tehran are also under tight surveillance to keep them from allowing Farsi-speaking Christian converts in their churches.