Christian convert Abdol-Ali Pourmand (38) was temporarily released on 25 November, after five weeks in prison, on a heavy bail equivalent to approximately €51,000.
Pourmand, known as Elias among his fellow Christians, is a minister in the Payam-e Aramesh(Message of Peace) house church in the south-western city of Dezful in Khuzestan province. He was detained by the security authorities on 21 October 2017.
Two days before Pourmand’s arrest, plain-clothes security authorities raided and searched his home while he was working on his farm and confiscated Bibles, notebooks and Christian CDs. Later, he received a call from the Ministry of Intelligence summoning him to its office in Dezful. He went to the office and was arrested and later transferred to detention in the city of Ahwaz, capital of Khuzestan province, 150 km south of Dezful.
At the time of his arrest, Pourmand had been married for just two months. Three days after his arrest, he was allowed to make a short phone call to his wife. After about a month in prison, in another short telephone conversation with his family, he said he was constantly being transferred between different wards in the prison, and that prison guards had made one attempt to force him to participate in Islamic prayer, which he refused.
Another Christian convert arrested in Dezful in October, Mohammad Ali Torabi, was temporarily released on bail on 27 November. In prison, he and Pourmand were both forced to sign blank confession papers. This is believed to be a new method used by the government to fabricate evidence against Christians.
Mohabat News – Another member of the Payam-e Aramesh (Message of Peace) house church in Dezful, Abdol-Ali Pourmand (Elyas) was arrested on October 19, 2017 and transferred to Ahwaz.
Knowledgeable sources told Mohabat News that the security authorities raided Mr. Pourmand’s house when he was working on his farm. Plain-clothes security authorities searched his house thoroughly in his absence and confiscated a few Bibles and Christian CDs.
Later, Mr. Pourmand received a call from the Ministry of Intelligence. He was summoned to their office in Dezful. He went to the ministry’s office and was arrested on the spot.
Three days after his arrest, on October 21, 2017, Mr. Pourmand was allowed to make a short phone call to his family. During the call he told his family that he is told he will not be held there for long.
Mr. Pourmand has been married for two months and is currently separated from his new bride.
Three other Christians have been arrested in Dezful recently. Mohabat News has obtained confirmed reports of them being beaten in prison and threatened that if they don’t renounce their faith in Christ and turn away from their Christian faith they will be forced to leave the country or be beaten to death.
- Read more:No information on the condition of the Christian convert Mohammad Ali Torabi in Iran
- Read more:A Group of Christian Converts Arrested in South-Western Iran
Persecution of Christians in the south-western province of Khuzestan has intensified in the last several weeks, especially in the city of Dezful.
Another member of the Payam-e Aramesh (Message of Peace) house church, Mohammad Ali Torabi, also known as Davoud, had also been arrested at his work place on October 10, 2017. He was transferred to Ahwaz immediately after his arrest. His family was also told that he will be released soon, but he has not yet been released.
The Islamic regime of Iran has been using different methods, including harassment, terror, arrest and heavy sentences to persecute Christians over the last three and a half decades, especially Farsi speaking Christians in the country. Time and time again International Human Rights and Religious
Watchdog organizations have condemned the Islamic regime for its mistreatment of Christians, but they deny all reports of Christian persecution.
Despite Iranian government’s extensive programs for spreading Shi’ite Islam and punishing conversion to other religions by death, embrace of Christianity among Iranians citizens has been on the rise across the country./FARSI