Pastor Farshid Fathi, who has been imprisoned in Iran since 2010 because of his Christian faith, has just been given an early release date, reports said.
Farshid has long been been separated from his wife Leila and two children, Rosana and Bardia. He is currently serving a six-year sentence in Iran's notorious Evin prison. His crime: being a Christian and freely exercising his faith.
"We are very grateful to announce that Iranian Christian prisoner Farshid Fathi has been told by prison officials that he will be released on Dec. 10, 2015. He had previously expected to remain in prison until December 2017," officials from the Iranian Elam Christian Ministries said in their website (elam.com).
Farshid received the official report about his release on July 4, 2015, and his family are praising God for this positive development.
Farshid was arrested at his home in Tehran by agents of the Intelligence Ministry back in Dec. 26, 2010, and was promptly taken to Evin prison due to his Christian faith and ministry work.
From that time up until February 2011, Farshid was held in solitary confinement and constantly faced brutal interrogation. After that, he was held in a small cell with one other person in Section 209 of Evin.
When he was brought to trial at Branch 15 of Revolutionary Court in Tehran, Farshid was convicted by Judge Salavati for "action against the national security" by cooperating with foreign organisations and evangelism. The judge sentenced Farshid to six years of imprisonment. He was then moved to section 350 of Evin.
He appealed his sentence, but things did not look bright for Farshid, who refused to let go of his strong Christian faith. He was transferred to Rajai Shahr prison and was even charged another extra year because of false charges.
When his lawyer sought an appeal, they were pleasantly surprised to find out that Farshid had been granted release two years earlier than what they expected.
Farshid became a Christian when he was only 17 years old.