Armenian Christian gets prison sentence

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After losing a court appeal in early June, Armenian Hakop Gochymayan received a 10-year

Hakop Gochymayan with his wife

prison sentence for allegedly participating in Christian activities in Iran. 

According to Asia News, there was “no clear evidence” in the case, and Gochymayan was convicted using “a provision of … [Iran’s] Penal Code,” which allows judges to decide cases based on assumptions rather than proof. 

Gochymayan and his wife, Elisa Shahvardian, who is of Iranian descent and has family in Iran, were detained near Tehran in August 2023. Shahvardian was released on bond in October 2023; however, Gochymayan remains in Iran’s Evin Prison.

In a report from Barnabas Aid, the couple was “placed in solitary confinement and subjected to intense psychological torture.” 

Authorities in Pardis, Iran, arrested the couple, who were in the country visiting friends and family as they dined at an acquaintance’s home. Reportedly, Gochymahadn had several copies of the New Testament, written in the Persian language of Farsi, and had attended multiple churches during his stay. The couple’s two children, ages 7 and 10, were with them and left with Shahvardian’s aunt following their arrest.

In an attempt to dissuade conversions, it is illegal in Iran to speak to non-Christians about the gospel and to have Bibles written in Farsi, which is the nation’s official language. 

Despite the egregious persecution of Christians in Iran and the danger posed to new Christian converts in the nation, the gospel continues to spread within the country. International Christian Concern (ICC) reported in July 2023 that Christianity is quickly growing in Iran. 

“For more than 40 years, the Iranian regime has persecuted Iranian Christians through banning Farsi language Bibles, imprisoning church leaders, and falsely accusing converts to Christianity as national security threats,” an ICC staffer said. “But through it all, God is working a miracle, and the underground Iranian church continues to grow rapidly.”International Christian Concern