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by Elizabeth Kendal
'Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them' (Hebrews 13:3a ESV)
ALGERIA: FIVE YEARS FOR 'BLASPHEMY'
source: Middle East Concern
IRAN: PRISON AS A TOOL OF PERSECUTION AND REPRESSION
On 24 June Iranian security agents arrested three Azerbaijani Christians attending an engagement party in Tehran. Eldar Gurbanov (48), Yusif Farhadov (51), and Bahram Nasibov (37) -- all from 'Word of Life' Church in Baku, Azerbaijan -- were amongst a group of some ten arrested. Most of the group were later released. Also detained was Naser Navard Gol-Tapeh (45), an Iranian Christian convert from a Muslim background whose plight and whereabouts remain unknown. No charges have been filed and the men, who are being held separately in a prison somewhere in Tehran, have not been allowed access to lawyers or consular officials. There are fears the men were 'set up and caught in a trap'. Back in Azerbaijan, the families of the three men are growing increasingly anxious. Meanwhile, the National Council of Resistance Iran (NCRI) reports that, on 12 August, intelligence officers raided a house church in Isfahan, central Iran, arresting eleven Christian men and women, of whom ten have been identified: they are Amin Ahanin, Mohammad Alyasi, Fatemeh Amini, Edmund Khachaturian, Mohammad Malek Khatai, Mohsen Khoobyari, Arash Qodsi, Hamed Sepidkar, Samaneh Shahbazi-Far and Maryam Zonubi. No further information is available.
|Maryam, 29 May 2016|
SUDAN: CHRISTIANS CHARGED WITH CAPITAL CRIMES
|Revs Kwa and Hassan|
source: Middle East Concern
As the grim hearing was under way, some 100 Christians from several denominations gathered together outside the court house and demonstrated their solidarity with the accused by singing hymns in the Nuba language. The next hearing is scheduled for Monday 29 August.
|Click here for video: source CSW|
These believers are singing of David's victory over Goliath,
see Persecution Project Foundation
PLEASE PRAY SPECIFICALLY THAT GOD WILL
* minister to all Christians who are this day suffering in prison for their faith, witness or advocacy; may they be profoundly aware of the comforting and sustaining presence of the Lord. 'You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me.' (Psalm 139:5 ESV)
* redeem all this suffering and use it for his divine purpose and glory. May God take that which is intended for evil and use it for good to awaken many and save lives. May Christ continue to sanctify and build his Church in Algeria, Iran and Sudan. 'For nothing will be impossible with God.' (Luke 1:37 ESV)
* intervene in Algeria, Iran and Sudan to bring an end to the repression and injustice that inhibits the spread of the gospel. (1 Timothy 2:2-4)
SUMMARY FOR BULLETINS UNABLE TO RUN THE WHOLE ARTICLE
'REMEMBER THOSE IN PRISON' IN ALGERIA, IRAN & SUDAN
On 7 August an Algerian judge sentenced Slimane Bouhafs to five years imprisonment for blaspheming in a social media post claiming that the light of Jesus was overcoming the 'lie' of Islam. In Iran, where many Christians are imprisoned, three Azerbaijanis and an Iranian convert were arrested at an engagement party in Tehran on 24 June and 11 believers were arrested in a raid on a house church on 12 August. In Sudan, two Nuba pastors, a Darfuri convert and a Czech film-maker are on trial, accused of tarnishing the government's image with 'false' stories of Christian persecution and Nuba genocide. The charges include waging war against the state and espionage, which carry the death penalty. 'Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them ...' (Hebrews 13:3)
Elizabeth Kendal is the author of Turn Back the Battle: Isaiah Speaks to Christians Today (Deror Books, Melbourne, Australia, Dec 2012) which offers a Biblical response to persecution and existential threat; and, After Saturday Comes Sunday: Understanding the Christian Crisis in the Middle East (Wipf and Stock, Eugene, OR, USA, June 2016).