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Praise God for Farshid’s release!
Photo: Facebook / Free Farshid

We are pleased to report the encouraging news that Iranian pastor Farshid Fathi has been released from prison. He was freed on December 21st, almost five years after his initial detainment. Farshid, who converted to Christianity as a teenager, was arrested in 2010 during a crackdown on Tehran house churches and held in solitary confinement for almost a year before receiving his sentence.

In April of 2012, the young pastor was sentenced to six years' imprisonment, after being charged with "acting against national security through membership of a Christian organization, collection of funds, and propaganda against the Islamic Regime by helping spread Christianity in the country." An additional year was added to his sentence in April of 2014 after allegations were made by prison authorities that alcohol had been discovered in Evin Prison during a raid. In the violent raid, Farshid was physically assaulted by a guard and suffered a broken foot for trying to assist an injured prisoner. He was later transferred to Rajai Shahr Prison in Karaj during August 2014. Previous reports on Farshid's case are available here.

Prison authorities at Rajai Shahr Prison notified Farshid in writing that he was due for early release in December 2015, rather than the determined date of December 2017. We are thankful that his early release was indeed recognized, and that Farshid is able to experience freedom once again and the joy of being reunited with friends and family.

God's Word admonishes: "Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep" (Romans 12:15). What a relief it is to now be able to rejoice with our Christian brother Farshid by lifting up prayers of thanksgiving over his recent release, praising God for working out His greater plans, and for preserving the life of this young pastor throughout his imprisonment. Please join us in praying that Farshid will have the opportunity to connect with the members his family, including those who have immigrated to another country since his initial incarceration. May the good news of his outcome serve as a reminder for us to intercede for the release of the estimated 90 Christians in Iran remaining behind bars. In the interim, while suffering for righteousness' sake, may they be emboldened in their faith and equipped by God's grace.