Mehdi Foroutan was released from prison June 10, 2012. He served almost a year in prison because of his faith for crimes against national security. Thank God for preserving his life and his faith.
Many other Iranian Christians are currently in prison, including Behnam Irani and Youcef Nadarkhani. Both men are reported to remain strong in their faith and positive in their attitudes. Behnam, however, is suffering from health problems and is not allowed to visit a doctor.
Please continue to pray the Lord will strengthen the faith of all Christians in prison in Iran and that they will be released soon.
Mehdi "Petros" Foroutan
Arrested: November 2009
On Nov. 25, 2009, Pastor Yang Rongli and four other Linfen-Fushan church leaders from Shanxi Province were sentenced to criminal detention for two to seven years, according to China Aid Association. The five church leaders were accused of "gathering people to disturb the public order," because they organized a prayer rally on Sept. 14, the day after 400 military police raided the church's grounds. During the raid, more than 30 believers were seriously wounded and 17 buildings were destroyed.More Info...
In April, Asia was going through a rough time. She had to celebrate yet another Easter away from her family. She told her husband, Ashiq, "I am fine, but to be alone and away from my family is frustrating to me. I want to run away from this imprisonment."
Ashiq encouraged her and said, "You have been steadfast in your faith so far; be patient and trust in God. He will surely guide you."
In June, Ashiq reported that Asia was feeling better. She said another group had brought her some food and clothes, and she was thankful for them and for all her prayer supporters. She was spending most of her evenings in prayer.
Asia has been in prison for THREE years. Please continue to pray for her.
Two reports came out last week: On July 4, Youcef was told he would face new charges at a trial in September. A second report said after a Russian Orthodox Church patriarch wrote a letter to the Supreme Leader on Nadarkhani's behalf, he received a reply saying the death sentence against the Iranian pastor would be dropped. It seems that Youcef will face a new trial in September for new charges: crimes against national security. Lord willing, this also means the charges of apostasy have been dropped, and Youcef will not face the death penalty. Continue to keep him and his family in your prayers. Pray for his immediate release and that the Lord's light shines through Youcef wherever he is.
Within the last week, Behnam Irani became so sick that he lost consciousness. As a result, he was finally allowed to be transferred to to prison hospital. His family had been worried for weeks that he seemed to be suffering from an intestinal issue. Instead, it appears that Behnam suffers from a bleeding ulcer. We are thankful Behnam is being treated by a doctor, but we encourage you to continue to pray for him since the situation is so serious.
Youcef Nardarkhani is doing well in prison, in spite of the uncertainty of his future. He is in good health and his faith is strong. Neither he nor his attorneys have received any official notification from the court regarding his trial. It's unclear how his attorneys will be able to defend Youcef in court if they do not even know the charges being brought. Ask God to give his lawyers wisdom. Pray that God will soon deliver Youcef and reunite him with his family.
Petros Fourotan is adjusting life after his release on June 10. VOM helped get Petros resettled after his release from prison. He reported that he is very thankful for all who were praying for him while he was imprisoned.
Mehdi "Petros" Foroutan
Eritrean Christians Arrested, Marched to Police Station
In a public display, on Sunday, August 5, police marched seventeen Christian youth through town; eyewitnesses said that they were ridiculed during the 45-minute trek to the jail. According to sources, the youth have since been relocated to a remote military prison that is notorious for confining its prisoners in dungeons and forcing them to do hard labour. The remoteness also makes it difficult for friends and family to bring extra food or necessary medicines. Please pray for them!
Pakistani Girl Arrested for 'Blasphemy'
On Friday, August 17, Rimsha Masih, an 11-year-old girl, was arrested on blasphemy charges; her accusers said that she had desecrated the Quran. Arrests under Pakistan blasphemy laws are nothing new, but this particular case has attracted widespread attention because Rimsha is reported to have Down syndrome.