Category Archives: Iran

Jason Rezaian and Yeganeh Salehi: Iran

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Jason Rezaian, a reporter for the Washington Post, and his wife Yeganeh Salehi, a journalist for a newspaper in the United Arab Emirates, were arrested in Iran on July 22, 2014.  Their whereabouts are unknown, and there was no reason given for their arrest.  They have not been heard from since they were detained (except for one phone call from Yeganeh).  In a statement by Secretary of State John Kerry, he said,

“Mr. Rezaian, a reporter for the Washington Post, is being detained in an unknown location. His love of Iran is seen in his reporting – portraits of the generosity and kindness of the Iranian people. The United States remains committed to returning them to their families, friends, and loved ones.  We ask the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran to immediately release Amir Hekmati, Saeed Abedini, and Jason Rezaian and respectfully request the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran work cooperatively with us to find Mr. Levinson and bring him home.”

Mohammad Koushesh,  the director of the governmental group that oversees the foreign press corp commented,

“Our office has not had any issues with them; they are members of our family of journalists.  [I have asked the judiciary] for news about the journalists, but they are asking us in return to wait for the official accusations to be presented.  We hope they are released soon.”

Source:  Christian Post
New York Times
The Huffington Post

What you can do:

Lord, I lift up this journalist couple to You today.  Journalists are so important in democracies, and in defending and maintaining freedom.  Here are a man and woman who love Iran, and the Iranian people, and yet even a member of the Iranian government can’t get any information about what has happened to them, or where they are.  You, however, know all about it down to the smallest detail, and You are right there with them.  Reveal Yourself to them, Father.  Fill them with Your love and peace, and set them free, even in their incarceration.  Intervene on their behalf, Father of all, and secure their release quickly, and without physical or emotional harm.  I pray for all of their family and friends, that You would give them Your peace, and that You would lovingly care for them during this time in which everything is unknown.  Bless Iran with justice and freedom, in Your holy name.

Amir Hekmati: Iran

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Amir Hekmati, an Iranian-American was arrested in August 2011 while visiting his grandmother in Iran.  He was held in solitary confinement in Evin Prison, and sentenced to death for “spying for the CIA.”  His death sentence was overturned by a higher court due to insufficient evidence, and then he was sentenced to ten years in prison during a secret, second trial in December 2013.  Neither he, nor his lawyer were informed of this trial, and were not allowed to attend.

In a letter recently written to Secretary of State John Kerry that was smuggled out of Evin Prison, Amir wrote,

“For over two years I have been held on false charges based solely on confessions obtained by force, threats, miserable prison conditions and prolonged periods of solitary confinement.”

Amir’s father is suffering from brain cancer, and is afraid he will never see his son again.

Sources:  Free Amir
The Guardian
The Huffington Post
Al Jazeera

What you can do:

Father, in Jesus’ name I lift up Amir Hekmati, his family, and his friends to You.  Only You can protect him, and defend him, during his imprisonment.  I ask You to fill his life with Your love and peace, and protect him from bitterness and physical, emotional, and spiritual abuse.  I ask You to intervene on his behalf.  Work in the courts of Iran and among the leaders of the country so that they will desire justice in their courts, and refuse to use their citizens or visitors to their country as pawns in a political game.  I pray for Amir’s father, who is suffering from a devastating case of cancer.  With all my heart I pray that he will live to see his son again, and that You will destroy his cancer, removing every cell from his body.  I ask You to give him a unexplainable peace, abundant strength, and ever-lasting faith to fight this disease, and believe for his son.  I pray for all of his family and friends, Father.  They need You.  Show them Your love and take care of them in this horrible situation.  Amen.

Reyhaneh Jabbari: Iran

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On Saturday, Iran hanged Reyhaneh Jabbari, an 27-year-old Iranian woman who was convicted of stabbing Morteza Abdolali Sarbandi, a former intelligence agent.  Reyhaneh claimed that Sarbandi was attempting to rape her, and she fought back in self-defense.    The United Nations claimed she never received a fair trial, and made demands that she be given a new trial.   The US State Department has condemned this execution.  According to the UN, Iran has executed more than 250 people this year.  Only China has killed more.

A great effort was made to save Reyhaneh through social media, but it wasn’t enough.

Sources:  The Human Lens
Yahoo News
https://twitter.com/StateDept

What you can do:

  • Pray for Reyhaneh’s family and friends, and for the government and courts of Iran.

Father, I am often overwhelmed by the injustice in this world.  I pray for all the courts in all countries of the world.  I ask You to pour out a spirit of justice in each court proceeding.  I pray that you will give us judges whose hearts and souls long for truth, and who are brave and willing to stand against public opinion in order to see that justice is accomplished.  When the laws are badly written and unfair in themselves, I ask You to bring new laws in their place.  I pray for the family and friends of this young woman, that You will comfort them, support them, and heal them.  I pray that You will protect the women of the world from predators, and that You will support them when they must defend themselves.  I pray that You will use Reyhaneh’s death to bring about change in the ways laws are written and how justice is pursued throughout Iran and all the world.  Amen.

 

Mohammad Ali Dadkhah: Iran

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On April 28, 2012, an Iranian appeals court upheld a sentence pronounced last July against Mohammad Ali Dadkhah, the head defense lawyer in the death appeal case of Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani.  The charges against him included “membership of an association seeking the soft overthrow of the government” and “spreading propaganda against the system through interviews with foreign media,” according to Amnesty International.  The sentence also bans him from teaching or practicing law for ten years.

Dadkhah is co-founder of Iran’s Center for Human Rights Defenders (closed down in 2008).  Many members of the organization are already serving jail terms for challenging the human rights positions of the Iranian government.  Dadkhah is one of the few lawyers in Iran willing to defend citizens on religious issues.  An anonymous expert on Iran recently commented, “[The sentencing of Dadkhah] is not good news.  My sense is that the rule of law in Iran is abused, and the decisions of the Iranian courts are unpredictable and at the whim of the authorities.”  According to Ann Harrison, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa, “Mohammad Ali Dadkhah’s only crime is to have defended the rights of others. He should not even have been on trial in the first place and his sentence should be quashed immediately.”

It is not clear what effect this may have on the case of Pastor Nadarkhani, convicted of the crime of “leaving Islam” in September of 2010, for which he was sentenced to death.  The Supreme Court of Iran upheld the verdict and sentence in June of 2011.  Persecution against Iranian believers has continued to escalate with home raids and dozens of arrests.  Recently Farshid Fathi, imprisoned since 2010, was sentenced to six years in prison for his Christian beliefs.

Sources:  Open Doors
Amnesty International