17 April 2016
Ebrahim Firouzi, a prisoner in Rajai-Shahr Prison in Karaj in Iran, has appealed for prayer for Christians and churches in his country.
The past three years has seen a well organised crackdown by Iranian authorities on the house churches in Iran, particularly on believers from a Muslim background. Ebrahim is one such convert. He was arrested with two of his Christian friends on August 21, 2013. Prior to this he had been convicted of several charges including propaganda against the Islamic regime, evangelism, contacts with anti-Islamic agents abroad and founding a Christian website for which he was sentenced to one year in prison and two years of exile to the remote town of Sarbaz.
Although he completed his initial sentence on January 13, 2015, Iranian authorities kept him detained on new charges of ‘acting against national security’. According to Mohabat News, Branch 28 of the central Revolutionary Court then sentenced Ebrahim to an additional five years in prison. At the time Ebrahim’s lawyer stated that a five-year sentence is the highest possible punishment for the charges laid against his client.
He is in a ward with potentially dangerous criminals and last year went on hunger strike to protest against these conditions. Local reports state that during the past 12 months, Ebrahim has been suffering acute pain in the left side of his chest. Recently his condition has deteriorated. The authorities are reportedly withholding the necessary medical treatment.
In his appeal for prayer Ebrahim noted God’s promises to those who remain faithful to him. He emphasised that he wants to stand strong in the face of persecution, but acknowledged that he cannot do this alone and so appealed for prayer. While he longs to be free from prison, he noted that
‘where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.’
‘Jesus is our example; the Saviour who came among us to be crucified and save us. We sometimes have to sacrifice our freedom to live in God’s love, so I can’t think only about myself when there are so many believers suffering persecution. My freedom and getting out of prison cannot be my only purpose. We think especially about the suffering of new believers. If my being in prison stirs the international community to work to prevent such future persecution of new believers, then my choice is to remain in prison.
I ask you to pray for the reopening of the churches in Iran that the government has forcibly closed – let the sound of worship and praise be heard in the buildings again! Pray for me to be a good example before the other prisoners.”’
- That there will indeed be change in the Iranian government so that churches can be re-opened and the sound of praise can be heard again in those buildings
- That God will strengthen, encourage and comfort Ebrahim with his presence and make him aware of His abounding love to him in Jesus
- That Ebrahim’s health will be restored and that he will be released soon
- That Ebrahim’s life will speak of Jesus’ love to the prison guards and his fellow prisoners.
When writing, please do not mention Release International, advance your political opinions or include anything which could be insulting to the authorities.
At present we believe that it would be helpful to send a simple card of encouragement to Ebrahim in prison. This will ensure that the Iranian authorities are aware that there are many in the international community who are concerned about the ongoing persecution and imprisonment of Christians in Iran. It will also serve to encourage Ebrahim and let him know that he is not forgotten and that his brothers and sisters around the world are remembering him in their prayers.
Please address the card to:
Ebrahim Firouzi, Ward 10, Rajai-Shahr Prison, Karaj,
Islamic Republic of Iran.
Find out more about persecution in Iran here