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On the morning of December 16, several Iranian security officials forcibly entered the home of Hamideh Najafi in the city of Mashhad and seized her personal belongings, including books, CDs and hand painted portraits of Jesus Christ. Hamideh was then arrested and detained. Authorities interrogated her about the names of other Christian evangelists in Iran. They also demanded that she deny her faith and return to Islam. When she resisted them, her husband was summoned to the detention centre where they blindfolded him and told Hamideh he would be beaten unless she signed a confession saying that she was mentally and psychologically disturbed. Hamidesh reportedly succumbed to pressure and gave this confession. Officials then set up a court date on December 30. She appeared only briefly, without the services of a lawyer. Although there were no formal charges placed against her, she was sentenced to three months of house arrest and has been accused of committing a "political" crime for contacting a foreign Christian television network.

While Hamideh was detained, the couple's 10-year-old daughter, Hadi, was held under supervision of the welfare office. Following the court verdict, Hadi was ordered to be transferred to foster parents due to her mother's alleged mental condition. However, as Hadi is suffering from a kidney and bladder infection, she was conditionally left in her mother's care. Officials have told the couple that if they insist on their Christian beliefs and speak publicly about their faith, Hadi will immediately be taken away from them and transferred to the custody of the welfare office. (Source: Farsi Christian News Network)

Pray for strength for Hamideh during her time of house arrest. Ask God to protect her and her family and embolden them to proclaim His name amid great pressure. Pray that Hadi will recover from her infection and that she will be able to remain with her parents.

For more information on the persecution of Iranian Christians, click here.