Iranian Christian Temporarily Free on $250,000 Bail
A recent Christian convert who endured more than 70 days in solitary confinement at an Iranian detention center because of his faith is now on house arrest after posting $250,000 bail.
According to Mohabat News, reporting about the situation in Ahvaz in the Khuzestan Province of Iran, Neshan Saeedi, 37, an Iranian-Arab, was released temporarily on Oct. 3.
Mohabat News said on July 24, Saeedi was accosted by security forces at his home. He was arrested with his wife and six-year-old daughter by plain-clothes intelligence agents. The agents released his wife and daughter after midnight following a long interrogation.
Mohabat News said Saeedi was held in an unofficial prison belonging to the intelligence section of the Revolutionary Guard in Chaharshir of Ahvaz .During this time, Saeedi’s wife was only able to visit him very briefly a couple of times and talk with him on the phone for five minutes.
Mohabat News said Saeedi told his wife during the phone call that prison officials treated him well, but did not explain why his arm was in a cast and whether or not it was broken.
Mohabat News said Saeedi told his wife in the conversation that officials asked about his pastor and other church workers.
Mohabat News said Saeedi’s interrogators told his wife that it would be better if she didn’t talk about the conversation to anyone. They also reportedly threatened Saeedi’s wife that if she spoke about her husband’s situation, she and her daughter would get into trouble and she would never see her husband again.
She was also reportedly told not to go to a lawyer.
Mohabat News said reports it received indicate that Saeedi was never charged during his time in detention, and was kept in a small cell that would not meet acceptable standards. In addition, the news service commented, his “harsh interrogation” resulted in his right hand being broken.
During Saeedi’s interrogation, Mohabat News said, he was accused of having a relationship with Israel and Britain (countries considered as the enemy by Islamic Republic officials), apostasy , baptizing Iranians of Muslim back ground, preaching the “Christian Zionist” gospel to convert Iranian Muslims to Christianity and holding illegal home gatherings.
Mohabat News reported that Saeedi denied the accusations and said he has no political or illegal intentions.
He reportedly told his questioners a number of times during their interrogations, “I met with some of the brothers and sisters, and prayed and praised God and attempted nothing more.”
Mohabat News said officials told Saeedi that he must stay in his house until his trial. His wife must also continue to report daily to the intelligence office of the Revolutionary Guard in Ahvaz.
In addition, Mohabat News said, their daughter is not allowed to register at school. The family was reportedly told that if they want to register their daughter as a Christian student they must submit a court approval, or register her as a Muslim student.
Mohabat News said, “This ordinary Iranian Christian family has faced … very serious problems and persecution (purely) because they want to worship their God, practice their beliefs and follow Jesus Christ.”
Jeremy Reynalds is Senior Correspondent for the ASSIST News Service, a freelance writer and also the founder and CEO of Joy Junction, New Mexico’s largest emergency homeless shelter, http://www.joyjunction.org He has a master’s degree in communication from the University of New Mexico, and a Ph.D. in intercultural education from Biola University in Los Angeles. His newest book is “Homeless in the City.”
Additional details on “Homeless in the City” are available at http://www.homelessinthecity.com. Reynalds lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico. For more information contact: Jeremy Reynalds at firstname.lastname@example.org.