Iranian pastor loses appeal against six-year prison sentence

The six-year prison sentence of Pastor Farshid Fathi, who has been incarcerated more than a year in Tehran's notorious Evin Prison, was upheld at his appeal hearing last week.

Fathi has been imprisoned for 18 months so far, and he is now due to remain in Evin prison to serve out the rest of his sentence, according to Rev Sam Yeghnazar of Elam Ministries.

Yeghnazar says Farshid was arrested in December 2010 for his Christian ministry work, but the authorities have deliberately cast his activities as political offences.

"This move once again displays great injustice towards Christians in Iran," Yeghnazar told ANS. "However, Farshid is a man after God's own heart and God will be faithful to him.

"I am convinced that the greater the persecution, the more the church will grow in Iran. Such injustice will only cause more Iranians to want to know the Jesus that people like Farshid proclaim," he said.

Yeghnazar went on to say that Farshid has become "a shining beacon for Christ in Evin prison, so much so that the son of an Iranian Ayatollah has commented on Farshid's sweet nature in a video available on YouTube, remarking on how beloved Farshid is amongst the inmates."

Yeghnazar requests that, as you hold Farshid in your prayers, please pray for:

** Steadfast endurance, the deep peace of the Lord and for the protection of the whole armour of God for Farshid throughout his incarceration. Pray that he would continue to be a bright light in Evin.

** Farshid's family, his wife Leila, and two children, Rosana and Bardia: pray that they would find great comfort in the Lord and in His Church at this time.

**Those who persecute Farshid and other Christians: pray that they would turn from their ways and come to know Jesus Christ.

** The church in Iran: that it would continue to grow beyond our imaginings and that our Iranian brothers and sisters would be able to have access to scripture and fellowship together.

** Comfort and boldness for the many other Iranian Christians who are detained whilst awaiting trial or who are serving out their sentences in Iran because of their faith.

Yeghnazar added: "Thank you so much for your continuing prayers. When Christians come out of prison they commonly testify to me that during their imprisonment they were strengthened through the prayers of their global family."