By Jeremy Reynalds, Senior Correspondent, ASSIST News Service (email@example.com)
IRAN (ANS-October 12, 2016) — Three of the five Iranian Christians arrested during a trip to the Alborz Mountains north-east of Tehran in August have been released on bail, though two are still being detained.
According to a story by World Watch Monitor (WWM) quoting Middle East Concern (MEC), Ramil Bet-Tamraz, Mohammad Dehnavi and Amin Afshar Naderi were released after each posting bail of about US $33,000.
They still haven’t been told what charges they face, although MEC reports that their interrogation related to the activity of Ramil’s father, Victor, a pastor who is still expecting a summons to court over his arrest (alongside Naderi) on Dec. 26 2014.
Hadi Asgari and Amir Saman Dashti remain in jail, and MEC reports that Asgari has faced “particularly intense pressure” during his interrogation.
Referring to an earlier story published on Aug. 31, WWM said the five Iranian Christians were arrested on Aug. 26 during a trip to the Alborz Mountains north-east of Tehran – the latest in a recent spate of arrests. Their wives and families expressed concern for their safety.
As mentioned earlier, one of them, Amin Afshar Naderi, had been arrested before. Also arrested that day was Pastor Victor Bet-Tamraz, whose son, Ramil, was part of the group arrested on Aug. 26.
Victor Bet-Tamraz led the Tehran Pentecostal Assyrian Church before it was shut down by Iran’s Ministry of Interior in March 2009.
WWM reported that he and Naderi – a convert to Christianity – were arrested alongside another convert while celebrating Christmas at the pastor’s house. All three were charged with conducting illegal evangelism and kept mostly in solitary confinement in Evin Prison, before being released on bail in Feb. and March 2015.
Their wives were separated from them during the raid by security officials from the Ministry of Intelligence and Security. MEC reported that Afshar had asked to see an arrest warrant. After none was produced, he was beaten.
More than 200 Christians have been detained by Iranian authorities since 2015. Many are in jail, while others, such as Victor Bet-Tamraz, have been released conditionally, pending sentencing or an appeal.
MEC said that at least 43 Christians were arrested in Aug. 2016.
For more information visit www.worldwatchmonitor.org.
Photo captions: 1) L to R: Mohammad Dehnavi, Hadi Asgari, Amin Afshar Naderi, Ramil Bet-Tamraz and Amir Dashti. 2) Jeremy and Elma Reynalds.
About the writer: Jeremy Reynalds, who was born in Bournemouth, UK, is Senior Correspondent for the ASSIST News Service, a freelance writer and also the founder and CEO of Joy Junction, New Mexico’s largest emergency homeless shelter, www.joyjunction.org. He has a master’s degree in communication from the University of New Mexico, and a Ph.D. in intercultural education from Biola University in Los Angeles. One of his more recent books is “From Destitute to Ph.D.” Additional details on the book are available at www.myhomelessjourney.com. His latest book is “Two Hearts One Vision.” It is available at www.twoheartsonevisionthebook.com. Reynalds lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico with his wife, Elma. For more information, please contact Jeremy Reynalds at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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