By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
TEHRAN (Worthy News) – A frail man and his wife have been detained at Iran’s notorious Evin prison in Tehran, and Christians fear they will be locked up for years due to their involvement in a house church.
Homayoun Zhaveh and his wife Sara Ahmadi faced legal difficulties since June 2019 because of their faith, Christian rights activists told Worthy News on Thursday.
“In November 2020, Sara was reportedly sentenced to 11 years in prison for her alleged role in leading a house church,” said advocacy group Voice Of the Martyrs Canada (VOMC).
“Homayoun was sentenced to two years for his membership with the church,” the group added.
Upon appeal, Sara’s sentence was reduced to eight years, according to Christians familiar with the case. “After the Supreme Court of Iran rejected their case, they expected to start serving their sentences in June 2021. However, when they presented themselves to Evin Prison, they were told to return home,” VOMC recalled.
Since then, the couple has been living in uncertainty. “This has been further compounded by the fact that Homayoun suffers from advanced Parkinson’s disease and Sara is his primary caregiver,” VOMC explained.
On August 13, the couple was reportedly summoned to the administrative office of Evin Prison. “They went expecting that their previously confiscated personal property would be returned to them. Upon arrival, however, they were both taken into custody without forewarning,” VOMC confirmed.
Christians said the only contact so far was when Homayoun Zhaveh called relatives, asking them to collect their car, which was left outside the prison.
The advocacy director for human rights group Article18, Mansour Borji, expressed his dismay and concern over their imprisonment. “We can only speculate on why this has happened,” he said in published remarks. “But it is nevertheless extremely concerning that an elderly man with a severe health condition has been detained… There is every chance, unfortunately, that the stress of their detention will worsen Homayoun’s condition,” he added.
VOMC said it had asked its supporters to pray for the couple, “asking Him to strengthen them in every area of their lives – spiritually, mentally, emotionally and physically – especially during their time of need.”
They also urged prayers for the Parkinson’s disease-suffering Homayoun Zhaveh and
“for the governmental and judicial leaders of Iran,” a strict Islamic nation.
VOMC said it hopes “that they will extend mercy and justice towards this elderly couple, and many other citizens who are persecuted for their faith throughout the country.”
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