Open Doors: Iran

Tortured Christian Flees to Seek Asylum in Turkey

[Speaking to the Israelites about their enemies, Moses said:] “Do not be terrified by them, for the LORD your God, who is among you, is a great and awesome God.”

– Deuteronomy 7:21 [NIV]


Days after his release from a month of interrogations and severe torture under secret police custody, Iranian Christian Mohsen Namvar has fled across the border into Turkey with his wife and son. Namvar, 44, had been held incommunicado by a branch of Sepah (the Iranian Revolutionary Guards).

At the time of his release, Namvar was experiencing fever, severe back pain, extremely high blood pressure, uncontrollable shaking of his limbs and recurring short-term memory loss. Namvar claimed that his severe physical mistreatment stemmed from his refusal to give the police any names or information about other converts and house church groups in Iran.

In the spring of 2007, he had been arrested and severely tortured with electrical shocks, allegedly for baptising Muslims who had become Christians. Three months after back surgery for those injuries, he regained the ability to walk, but still suffered pain and discomfort.

Namvar must now wait for 11 months for an interview with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees [UNHCR] to apply for status as an asylum-seeker.

While her husband was under arrest, Namvar’s wife had been subjected to a second police ransacking of their home, repeated telephone calls filled with slander and death threats and one attempt to kidnap their son from his school. Although he earned his living as a miner, Namvar had been active in preaching and teaching the message of Christ across northern Iran since the early 1990s.

Under Iran’s hardline Shiite government, a Muslim who converts to Christianity has committed apostasy, which is punishable by death. Fellow Iranians Mahmood Matin and Arash Bandari have been jailed since May 15 in Shiraz, where they were arrested on “suspicion” of apostasy.

Under a draft law being discussed this month in the Iranian parliament, the “optional” death penalty now in force for apostasy would become obligatory.

Source: Compass Direct News

Prayer points:

  • Please pray that God would heal Namvar, both physically and mentally, from the injuries sustained while in custody
  • Pray that the time before their interview with UNHCR would pass quickly and the family would know God’s peace
  • Please pray against the proposed change in Iran’s apostasy laws to make it a capital offence
  • Remember Mahmood Matin and Arash Bandari and other Iranian Christians that are being held in custody.

Thank you for praying with us.


Open Doors:Zimbabwe

Church in Zimbabwe in need of our prayers

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?”

– Matthew 6:25 [NIV]

On the 27 June, Robert Mugabe was re-elected as President of Zimbabwe, but his victory caused widespread condemnation from around the world due to reports of escalating violence and restrictions on democracy within the country.

Zimbabwe now suffers chronic shortages of meat, milk, bread and other basic foodstuffs and relies on imports and handouts from foreign governments and relief agencies to feed its people. The inflation rate is now estimated at 2 million per cent and people are facing starvation. Scores of people have been wounded and more than 1,000 homes burnt or destroyed in attacks by gangs wielding whips, axes and clubs. There have been widespread reports of killing, maiming, abduction and mutilation.

As in most conflict situations, the Church of Zimbabwe has not been excluded but it is clear that the Church is not being singled out and people from all walks of life have been affected. Although Open Doors is acutely concerned over the situation in Zimbabwe we believe our involvement should be on the basis of serving persecuted Christians and that is not the case in this situation.

Open Doors staff members are monitoring the situation closely, and should it become evident that there is suffering because of Christian faith, we will of course get involved according to our vision.

Source: Open Doors

Prayer Points:

* Pray that the Church would be a shining light to those around them. May they demonstrate the godly traits of wisdom and gentleness at this time
* Please pray for unity within the Body.
* Reports from Zimbabwe state that the Church is growing despite the circumstances. Please pray for wisdom for church leaders as they seek to disciple these new believers who are facing so many challenges.
* Please pray that the Lord would bring peace and stability to Zimbabwe.
* Please pray that the Lord would open up ways for Christian organisations and churches to bring much needed aid to Zimbabwe.

Thank you for praying with us.

Communications Team