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Photo: Mohabat News

Reports are indicating that a growing number of Iranian Christian women are being incarcerated. The increase has gained momentum since Iran's most recent Persian New Year. While religious minorities are frequently harassed by Iranian police, the most severe police brutality is inflicted on female believers who are targeted for their violation of Iran's strict protocols. Being few in number, Christian activists have had trouble raising awareness about the harassment.

Prisoners typically have limited contact with outsiders, so the public is largely unaware of their plight. Some Christian women who were previously imprisoned are managing to speak publicly about their experiences in Iranian prisons. Former convict "Faezeh Hashemi," the daughter of Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani (former Iranian president), brought attention to a couple of female Christian prisoners during an interview with the Bahar newspaper on April 9th. Her description of the two Christian cellmates raised speculation that they may be "Mitra Zahmati" and "Maryam Jalili."

Contacts of the prisoners are also raising awareness about the situation, despite having limited access to pertinent information. "Somayeh Bakhtiari," "Ronak Samavat" and "Nasim Zanjani" are three Christian convert activists who were arrested separately during the most recent Persian year and sent to prison. According to contacts, these women were arrested for holding worship services in house churches. Another Christian activist, "Maryam Naghash," was sent on July 15th to Iran's brutal Evin prison. She was previously sentenced to five years in prison for evangelistic activities. Previous prayer alerts and informative video clips can be found at the Iran Country Report.

Pray that the previously mentioned Iranian Christian women will draw closer to the Lord during their incarceration and, as a result, experience freedom from fear and bitterness. May He mediate mightily on behalf of these women, bringing about greater awareness of their plight, justice in the judicial system, and their ultimate release from prison. Ask Him to minister His peace and comfort to their loved ones (especially their children), while bringing needed conviction to those who are responsible for the arrests and imprisonment of these suffering believers.