The welcome news of release from prison of the two imprisoned Christians, Mr. Ehsan Behrouz, and Mr. Nour-ullah Ghobeytizadeh; has come as a pleasant surprise, and met with great joy. The two had, for the past several months, been detained on spurious charges in Ahvaz and Mash-had prisons.
The news of Mr. Ehsan Behrouz’ freedom, in Mash-had, was first received some three weeks ago, but in consideration of his family’s concerns in view of the unprecedented restrictions imposed by Islamic courts, and multicity of security services of the Islamic Republic, it was not published at the time. Ehsan was released, after seven months of solitary isolation, on Thursday 14th June 2012.
Reports show that not only was Ehsan kept in isolation, he was for the most part, not allowed any contact with, nor visit from his family. It was only in June that his mother was allowed to see him; whereas the distressed family had been promised his freedom since early April.
The 24 years old Mash-had University student, Ehsan was first detained by agents of “Ministry of Intelligence and National Security of the Islamic Republic”, more than two years ago, while on a visit to Bujnord in northern Khorassan.
Along with other Christians from Mash-had, he had planned to join the local Christians in a united prayer and deepening meeting.
Needless to say, the rest of the group were also detained and jailed along with Ehsan.
At branch 901 of the Revolutionary Court of Mash-had in Koh-Sangi Street, he was placed in prison for more than three months, before being conditionally released after payment of over US$ 80,000-00.
His temporary freedom only lasted until November 2011, but constant and unrelenting surveillance and shadowing had turned him into a nervous and troubled young man.
Ehsan suddenly disappeared from life in Nov.2011, and it was some weeks later when he re-arrest was confirmed by the Islamic Regime.
Reports from Ahvaz, in South Western province of Khuzestan, also confirm the release of the Christian convert, Mr. Nour-ullah Ghobeyti-Zadeh, from prison on July 16th 2012; after more than 18 months of captivity.
After the attack by agents of “Ministry of Intelligence and National Security of the Islamic Republic”, the arrest of its Pastor, and closure of the Church of Assembly of God in Ahvaz; Nour-ullah was said to have been transferred to the infamous prison of Esfahan. During his 20months long imprisonment, from 20th Dec 21010, Nour-ullah was only authorized few hour-long visits from his family, and never allowed legal representation.
Mr Ghobeyti-Zadeh who was 47 at the time of his arrest, is an agricultural day labourer, and was hosting a House Church Christmas meeting celebrating the birth of Christ in a fruit orchard, where he was employed at the time.
Ten months earlier he had been picked up and taken to an un-identified religious court. There, he had been told by the self-declared judge to re-think about his conversion, recant his faith in Christ, and return to Islam.
During the following months until his arrest in Dec. 2010, he was under surveillance, openly harassed by the state security agents, and a number of times had been ordered to report to the local police and security offices for interrogations.
Mr. Ghobeyti-zadeh is the last of the Christmas 2010 arrested Christian converts being freed from prison.
This sustained wave of attacks against Christianity and massive arrests of Christians was the result of the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic, Ayatullah Khamenei’s speech in Ghom, warning of “dangers of rapid and alarming spread of Christianity amongst people”.
Tehran’s governor at the time, Mr. Morteza Tamadon, had called for severe consequences against Christian and new converts to Christianity in the Islamic Republic.
Mr. Tamadon’s zeal has for now been relegated to the back seat as he is fighting to stay out of prison himself, facing massive corruption charges during his governorship of Tehran, brought against him by the Islamic Parliamentarians.
Release of the two Christians by the Islamic Regime is viewed favourably by Iranian-Christian community of believers, and it demands the urgent release of Mr. Farshid Fat’hi from Evin prison.
The Islamic Revolutionary Court in Tehran sentenced Mr. Fat’hi to six years in prison for his conversion to Christianity earlier this year.
(Farsi Christian News Network)