By Jeremy Reynalds, Senior Correspondent, ASSIST News Service (firstname.lastname@example.org)
TEHRAN, IRAN (ANS-July 27, 2016) — Relatives and friends request prayer for three Azeri Christians and an Iranian Christian who were arrested on June 24 and remain in detention in Tehran.
According to Middle East Concern, security agents raided an engagement party in Tehran attended by Eldar Gurbanov, Yusif Farhadov and Bahram Nasibov from “Word of Life” Church in Baku, Azerbaijan.
Initially about ten people were arrested, but most were soon released. However Gurbanov, Farhadov, Nasibov and an Iranian Christian were taken away and remain in detention. Their whereabouts are unknown.
Since their arrest, Middle East Concern said, the Azeri detainees have only been able to contact their families once or twice. They are being kept in solitary confinement, and consular officials from the Azerbaijan Embassy in Tehran have not been allowed to see them.
Gurbanov, who is a youth pastor and missions director, believes that they were set up and caught in a trap. As yet no charges have been brought against the detainees.
Their families and friends are obviously very concerned about the situation.
In more positive news, friends of Amin Khaki are delighted that he has been released from Ahvaz Prison.
Khaki, along with Hossein Barounzadeh, Mohammad Bahrami and Rahman Bahmani, was among eight people arrested at a picnic in Shush on March 5 2014. They each received a sentence of one year in prison for spreading Christianity in Iran.
Following a re-trial held on Feb. 1 2016, the sentences were upheld but the defendants were not immediately summoned to prison. In June, all four Christians presented themselves at Ahvaz Prison to serve the remainder of their sentences.
However, last week Khaki was released, and he does not need to serve a previously suspended sentence of one year in addition to the most recent sentence.
Barounzadeh, Bahrami and Bahmani still have four months left of their sentences to serve.
Middle East Concern asked for prayer that the three Azeris and the Iranian Christian will be released soon, and that God will bring peace and comfort to them and their families.
In addition, that no charges will be brought against the four men, and that officials from the Azerbaijan Embassy will be allowed to see them.
Also, that Khaki will adjust well to his freedom, and that no new charges will be brought against him
Finally, that Barounzadeh, Bahrami and Bahmani will also be released, or know God’s peace as they serve the remainder of their sentences and that all officials involved will love mercy, act justly, learn about Jesus and choose to follow Him
For more information visit Middle East Concern at www.meconcern.org.
Photo captions: 1) Freed – Pastor Amin Khaki. 2) Prisoner in Chains (via Pakistan Christian Post). 3) Jeremy and Elma Reynalds.