Bishop Haik disappeared from the streets of Tehran on January 19, 1994.
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
Bishop Haik disappeared from the streets of Tehran on January 19, 1994.
The authorities reported his death to his family on January 30.
Haik was a man of God who believed in the God-given
right of a person to believe according to his conscience.
He loved the people of Iran whether
Christian or Muslim. For their religious freedom, he gave his life.
Pastor Haik Hovsepian-Mehr did not believe in succumbing to government
pressure and chose instead to "tell the world" about the plight of Iranian Christians.
He said: "If we go to jail or die for our faith, we want the whole Christian world to
know what is happening to their brothers and sisters."
One of the persons who worked very hard to
overturn Rev. Dibaj's sentence was Bishop Haik Hovsepian-Mehr.
Bishop Haik, an Armenian pastor,
shared the news of Rev. Dibaj's death sentence as well as other violations of
religious freedom of
Christians in Iran with the world.
Due to the world's reaction, Rev. Dibaj was released on January 16, 1994.
Five months after the release from prison, Rev. Mehdi Dibadj
was abducted mysteriously and suffered martyrdom in June, 1994.
Bishop Haik Hovsepian Mehr's 20th Martyrdom Anniversary: January 2014
Obituary of Bishop Haik Hovsepian Mehr by Felix Corley - The Independent - Tuesday 01 February 1994
HAIK HOVSEPIAN MEHR was the boldest of the Christian church leaders in defending Christian rights in Iran. He disappeared in Tehran on 19 January just days after one of his church members, Mehdi Dibaj, was freed from prison. Dibaj had been sentenced to death on charges of 'apostasy' (converting from Islam to Christianity) and Hovsepian Mehr had been instrumental in bringing Dibaj's plight to the attention of the world. Hovsepian Mehr apparently died the day after his disappearance, and his body was identified from photographs shown to his family on Sunday. Iranian police denied that he had been detained by the country's security forces, but international human-rights groups are treating the death with suspicion and have demanded an inquiry.
Hovsepian Mehr was born into a middle-class Armenian family in Tehran in 1945. He became a pastor of a church in Majidieh, a suburb of Tehran, while in his late teens. After military service and marriage he moved to Gorgan to pastor the church he had founded during his military service in the area. It was there that he was ordained. A car crash in 1969 severely injured Hovsepian Mehr and his wife, and killed their first child. Despite intermittent harassment from local Muslims who, on one occasion, planned to burn down the church, Hovsepian Mehr ran the Gorgan church for 14 years. He was there during the 1979 Islamic revolution, when his church was saved from destruction only through the intervention of a local Muslim cleric.
In 1981 Hovsepian Mehr moved to Tehran to take up the post of Superintendent of the Pentecostal Assemblies of God churches, of which there were seven in Iran. During his ministry, and despite the difficulties for Christian churches in Islamic Iran, a further five were founded. In 1986 the Protestant churches joined together in a unified Council of Protestant Churches, of which Hovsepian Mehr was elected president. The job put him in the limelight. Unlike the Armenian and Syriac Churches, which cater specifically to ethnic and religious minorities, the Assemblies of God mainly serve Farsi-speaking Christians, most of whom are of Muslim background. It was because of this that they were singled out for attack by the government and Islamic bodies. Publication of Christian literature was banned by the authorities and some churches were closed down, including five Assemblies of God churches. Another Assemblies of God pastor was executed in 1990.
Hovsepian Mehr was courageous in resisting government restrictions. Last year he was one of only two church leaders to refuse to sign a declaration stating that they would not allow Muslims or Muslim converts into their churches. He also refused to sign a statement that Christians enjoyed full rights in Iran. He compiled a detailed report on violations of religious freedom and invited Professor Reynaldo Pohl, the United Nations Special Representative to Iran, to visit the country and meet Protestant ministers and government officials to discuss these violations. He also met the Ministry of Islamic Guidance for Minorities to call for the government to respect the rights of religious minorities set out in the 1979 Constitution.
It would appear that Hovsepian Mehr's courageous stand for Christian rights cost him his life.
"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.