Christians in Isfahan face increasing pressure and arrests
Remember those in prison, as if you were their fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated as
if you yourselves were suffering. Hebrews 13:3, NIV
March 16, 2012
Christians in Isfahan face increasing pressure and arrests
78 year old Giti Afrouz Hakimpour and Hekmat Salimi and several other Christians arrested in Isfahan.
Jesus said: "I have told you these things, so that in me you
may have peace. In this world you will have trouble.
But take heart! I have overcome the world."
- Gospel of John 16:33
(16 March 2012) -- According to reports received in recent weeks by the Iran Human Rights Documentation Center (IHRDC), security agents from the Isfahan intelligence office in the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI) arrested several adherents to the Christian faith in Isfahan in a pre-planned raid on Wednesday, February 22, 2012. The targeted individuals were arrested separately in their houses and then transferred to an undisclosed location.
Sources close to IHRDC confirm that Giti Afrouz Hakimpour, a 78 year old Christian woman, was one of the individuals arrested in the raid. Hakimpour, who lives alone, had her house raided by security agents on February 22, at 6 AM. The agents searched Hakimpour.s house for three hours and seized a large number of her personal belongings, including her passport, bank documents, her pension book, the deed to her house, vehicle title, Bibles and other religious literature, her computer and mobile phone, documents she had translated, her driver.s license, personal correspondence, and other items. After the agents concluded their search, they transferred Hakimpour to the Isfahan intelligence office, located on Hasht-Behesht Street.
Eye witnesses report that after Hakimpour.s detention, security agents entered her house yet again and proceeded to search through her belongings. After the search, her house looked as if it had been ransacked.furniture was turned upside down, picture frames were pulled off the walls and thrown across the room and drawers and wardrobes had been rifled through.
Hakimpour is a retired nurse-midwife and nurse supervisor who dedicated many years of public service to the health services section of the Iranian National Oil Institution, located in the city of Abadan and Masjid-Solaiman. Hakimpour comes from a prominent Christian family in Isfahan and is a member of the Episcopal Church of Iran. The Hakimpours are of Jewish ancestry but converted to the Christian faith many years ago.
Intelligence agents accused Hakimpour of evangelizing people in her own home. However, no court has issued formal charges against her.
On account of her old age and the efforts of the leaders of the Episcopal Church, Hakimpour was released from the Isfahan intelligence office on Saturday, February 25, 2012.
Since her release, Hakimpour is constantly monitored by security agents. Some of Hakimpour.s friends fear contact with her as they have also been threatened with questioning by security.
Further, before Hakimpour.s arrest, she planned a trip abroad to visit her family and purchased her airfare, but she is now unable to travel. Her passport and other identification documents have been confiscated, thus, at present, she has no official identity under IRI laws.
Additionally, since her bank account book and other banking documents have been seized, Hakimpour no longer has access to her bank account. Therefore she has had to sell some valuables in order to support herself. It is unclear how long she can sustain herself in this manner.
On the same day as Hakimpour.s arrest, on Wednesday, February 22, security agents in Isfahan also arrested Hekmat Salimi, an Iranian and Farsi speaking Christian pastor and poet. Salimi was arrested in Fooladshahr town (in Isfahan province); agents confiscated Salimi.s personal belongings and transferred him to an undisclosed location. Prior to this arrest, Salimi was arrested on several previous occasions for his Christian beliefs, including in a raid by security agents in August 2003. After his arrest in August 2003, he was held in Dastgerd prison in Isfahan for a period of time.
The recent arrests in Isfahan are not limited to the above names. IHRDC will release more information about these arrests as it is received.
The Iranian authorities. arrests and treatment of Hakimpour and Salimi directly violate numerous provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), of which the IRI is a signatory. Specifically, the Iranian government.s actions in these cases contravene Article 9 (individual freedom and security), Article 12 (freedom of movement), and Article 18 (freedom of religion and belief) of the ICCPR, and accordingly it is in violation of its international obligations and commitments.
38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from his love. Death can't, and life can't. The angels can't, and the demons can't. Our fears for today, our worries about tomorrow, and even the powers of hell can't keep God's love away.
39 Whether we are high above the sky or in the deepest ocean, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.
"Others were tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection...
they were stoned; they were sawn in two; they were put to death by the sword... the world was
not worthy of them." -- Hebrews 11: 37-38.
2013 - October 21 - Pastor Eddie Romero - Tonight, at about 10:30PM (9:00AM Tehran time) Pastor Eddie Romero approached the notorious Evin Prison in Tehran and made a declaration of protest on behalf of five Iranian prisoners: Farshid Fathi, Saeed Abedini, Mostafa Bordbar, Alireza Seyyedian, and Mohammed Ali Dadkhah.
For more information go to: exodus8one.org
2013 - October 5 - Maryam Naghash-Zargaran - Maryam (aka Nasim) an Iranian Christian Prisoner in Evin Prison was Transferred to Hospital
2012 - January - The Governor General of Tehran Province, Morteza Tamadon, acknowledged in a statement on 4th January that a number of evangelical Christians had been arrested. He referred to their 'corrupting' influence and warned that further arrests are imminent.
2011 - December - Alireza Seyyedian - Alireza a Follower of Jesus since 2006, was arrested and sentenced to six years in December 2011. He is kept in the section 350 of Evin Prison where political prisoners are held.
2011 - September - Mehdi "Petros" Foroutan, a 27-year-old pastor in Iran, was arrested in January 2010 and charged with crimes against national security and blasphemy against Islam. (as of 2/24/2012 - 154 days in Prison)
2011 - May - Behnam Irani, a 41-year-old pastor from Kraj, Iran, was convicted of crimes against national security in January 2011 and sentenced to one year in prison. After voluntarily surrendering to authorities on May 31 to begin his sentence, he learned that he would be forced to serve five years in connection with a previous conviction.
2011 - Rev. Behrooz Khanjani trial hearing on 4/5/2001, He is married with a 6 yo child and has already spent over 8 months in prison
2011 - Rev. Leonard Keshishian, the pastor of the Assemblies of God Church in Isfahan has been arrested
2010 - December 26 - Farshid Fathi - was arrested on Dec. 26, 2010 in a wave of arrests of believers in Tehran and other areas. He was sentenced to six years of imprisonment on March 5, 2012. Farshid's appeal against the charges was rejected in June 2012. He is due to serve the rest of his sentence in Evin Prison.
2010 - October - a young believer has died in Iran after he had been severely beaten by a relative who objected to his strong faith in Christ. He leaves behind a wife and two young children. (Reported by Elam)
2010 - September 23, Nine followers of Jesus were detained in Hamedan, the capital of Hamadan province, on charges of evangelism, which potentially carries the death penalty under strict laws in Iran.
- According to a report by FCNN (Farsi Christian News Network), 4 followers of Jesus Christ from Hamadan were arrested on September 4, 2010. Three of them were released on April 30, 2011, after 8 months in prison (Arezoo Teymouri & her husband Arash Karmanjai and Sonia Keshish Ovanesian). Vahid Abrahemian is still under arrest as of April 30, 2011.
2010 - July 24 at 9:00 p.m., 27-year-old Neshan Saeedi was spending a quiet evening at home with his wife and young daughter when plain-clothes security forces entered his house and arrested him. The security officers searched the home and seized personal belongings such as a computer, CDs containing films of Christian seminars and teachings, Christian books and Bibles, and family photo albums. As of September 09, 2010 - there is no information about the condition of Neshan.
2010 - July 18, 15 Christians detained in Mashhad,Iran's second largest city, remain detained and are "under pressure pressure to recant their faith but are refusing to do so." - (Reported by The Voice of the Martyrs)
2010 - April 29, Ali Golchin (29), has been held in solitary confinement in Tehran's Evin prison since he was arrested in his home town of Varamin on April 29. After weeks of appealing to the authorities, Ali's father was finally allowed access to him on June 17 -- though they were allowed only 10 minutes together. Ali was released on bail on July 25.
2007 - In June, a number of Iranian Christians have been arrested and are held in unknown places, including Mr. fard from Tehran.
2007 - Mohammad Ali Jafarzadeh, May 2007, Executed (hanged) in Evin Prison
2007 - Mohammad Jaberi, May 2007, Executed (hanged) in Evin Prison
2007 - Mr. Patrick, an Iranian Christian and a member of Church of Kermanshah was arrested in May.
2007 - Several Iranian Christians from Church of Mashhad were arrested in February.
2006 - 14 Iranian Christians from Church of Rasht were arrested in December.
2006 - Iranian secret police began to raid and arrest leaders of the Islamic republic's indigenous "Jesus Only" movement Sunday December 10, arriving unannounced in the early morning hours to search their homes in Tehran, Karaj, Rasht and Bandar-i Anzali.