Farshid Fathi, an Iranian Christian pastor, is beginning the third year of a six-year
prison sentence on a conviction of “being chief-director of foreign
organizations in Iran and gathering funds for these organizations.” Farshid is one of several believers arrested over the past few years in
the Iranian government’s attempts to suppress Christianity. The details of his
arrest were only recently released.
At about 6 a.m. on Dec. 26, 2010, security officials
wearing plain clothes surrounded the home of Farshid’s father. When Farshid’s father
opened the door to go to work, they forced their way into the home. They woke
everyone in the house, including Farshid and his family who had stayed there Christmas
The authorities began a thorough search of the
house. They questioned everyone present and, after completing the search,
allowed Farshid to take his daughter to school.
“At the same time, another group of government agents attacked Farshid
Fathi's own house to arrest him, not knowing they were not home,” a source told
Mohabat News. “They broke into the house illegally, destroying the entrance
door, and searched everywhere confiscating whatever they thought could be used
as evidence against Mr. Fathi, including his photos, flash drives, camera
memory cards, the hard drive of his PC, laptop, documents, and even some money
and his gas card.”
from the two raids communicated, they realized they had accidentally allowed Farshid
to leave his father’s house. Livid over the mistake
and sure Farshid had fled, the agents threatened the family with “harsh
consequences” if he did not return.
But an hour later, Farshid did return. Authorities
then beat him, insulted him and handcuffed him before transferring him to the
Ministry of Intelligence building in Tehran. From there, he was taken to Evin
prison, where he spent several months in solitary confinement.
A Christian prisoner who was Farshid’s
cellmate for a few weeks asked Farshid why he returned home, knowing that the
agents were waiting to arrest him. “I couldn’t leave my wife and children alone,”
Farshid’s faith remains strong even in prison.
In December, he responded to the Newtown, Conn., tragedy by writing the following
letter to parents of the victims:
To the fathers and mothers who lost their precious children in the
I really don't know what word in the world could comfort you, what
relief could be helpful for your broken heart, and which hand could clean the
tears which fall from your cheeks. I just want to say: I am so sorry and
you are in my prayers.
I am sure these high walls cannot stop my prayers for you. Before this
tragedy happened, I was thinking about my suffering that I'm going through
because of my Lord Jesus Christ, especially being far from my lovely kids. But
when I imagine how hard your pain is I forget my sufferings. Because I know by
God's grace I will see my kids at the latest in 2017 when I come out from
prison. But unfortunately you have to wait a bit longer. So I would like to
express my deepest sorrow for your loss.
I believe we will have enough time in heaven with our lovely children
forever. There is no gun there, there is no prison, and there is no pain.
In the hope of that glorious day.
Your Brother in Christ from prison in Iran,
17 December 2012
Sources: Mohabat News, VOM Contacts
Posted: January 17, 2013