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Saturday, August 27, 2011

Christian Pastor in Iran freed from prison, most likely faces a trial for blasphemy against Islam

By Michael Ireland
Senior Correspondent, ASSIST News Service

RASHT, IRAN (ANS) -- ASSIST News Service has learned that Pastor Matthias Haghnejad has been released from prison on bail today, Saturday August 27.

Jason Demars of Present Truth Ministries (www.presenttruthmn.com ) told ANS: “A family member pledged their property so that he could get out of prison. Thank you for praying for him and for all who helped make this known throughout the world. God worked through your prayers and made a way for his release.”

Haghnejad has been charged with blasphemy against Islam.

Pastor Matthias Haghnejad
(Photo courtesy Present Truth Ministries)

“This is a serious charge against him so I ask that you continue to pray for him and his family. God made a way for his acquittal previously and I believe he will do so again,” DeMars said.

DeMars said Haghnejad was being held in prison, presumably, in the Rasht area by VEVAK, the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence and National Security. He was arrested during a pastoral visit with a family in the Rasht area.

DeMars earlier told ANS the secret police (VEVAK) had not contacted brother Matthias’ family and that he was being held without access to an attorney.

“Typically, under these circumstances, pastors are being tortured in order to gain as much information as possible from them,” DeMars said.

It was understood that MOIS (Ministry of Intelligence and Security), also known as VEVAK, was holding Matthias at a MOIS facility in Rasht.

DeMars explained that MOIS, one the most powerful ministries in the Iranian government, operates many facilities throughout Iran, all independent of any government oversight.

“These facilities are reserved for those deemed a threat to national security, often political prisoners,” he said.

Haghnejad had not been allowed any visitors, so his physical condition was unknown. Also, as of DeMars’ earlier report, authorities had not yet decided what they would charge him with, but set his bail at $30,000.

“Once again, the Iranian regime proves that it cares very little for human rights of any kind. Here, a simple pastor from Bandar-e Anzali is arrested, held incommunicado and presumably (based upon past behavior) is being tortured,” DeMars said.

“These men who control the government of Iran hold to the lowest form of religion that seeks to destroy the lives of those who will not bow their knee to tyranny and injustice. They have arrested a Christian pastor, who has NO interest in politics, and torture, interrogate and imprison him because of their false beliefs.”

Please pray that brother Matthias has the grace, strength, clarity, wisdom and power of God working in him now as the Iranian regime seeks to break him. Pray that our Heavenly Father gives peace to his wife and daughter. Please pray and please contact human rights agencies, Iranian Ambassadors’ in your country and let your foreign ministry know about what is happening.

DeMars also wants concerned believers to remember that Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani remains in prison awaiting the re-examination of his case for apostasy.

“Continue to pray, write him letters and send emails to Iranian embassies requesting his release. With God all things are possible! “DeMars said.

Please continue to hold up both men in prayer for their safety, strength, and courage in the face of suffering.



** Michael Ireland is Senior Correspondent for ANS. He is an international British freelance journalist who was formerly a reporter with a London (United Kingdom) newspaper and has been a frequent contributor to UCB UK, a British Christian radio station. While in the UK, Michael traveled to Canada and the United States, Albania,Yugoslavia, Holland, Germany,and Czechoslovakia. He has reported for ANS from Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Israel, Jordan, China,and Russia. Michael's volunteer involvement with ASSIST News Service is a sponsored ministry department -- 'Michael Ireland Media Missionary' (MIMM) -- of A.C.T. International of P.O.Box 1649, Brentwood, TN 37024-1649, at: Artists in Christian Testimony (A.C.T.) International where you can make a donation online under 'Donate' tab, then look for 'Michael Ireland Media Missionary' under 'Donation Category' to support his stated mission of 'Truth Through Christian Journalism.' Michael is a member in good standing of the National Writers Union, Society of Professional Journalists, Religion Newswriters Association, Evangelical Press Association and International Press Association. If you have a news or feature story idea for Michael, please contact him at: ANS Senior Reporter

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