Pastor Behnam Irani is currently serving a five-year prison sentence in Iran.
His crime? Holding house church services and leading Muslims to Christ. Because of these “illegal” activities, he is considered a threat to national security.
Pastor Behnam’s Family and Ministry
Behnam Irani is 41 years old. He is married to Christine and has a daughter, Rebecca, 10, and a son, Adriel, 3.
He became a pastor in 2002, 10 years after becoming a Christian.
He has been arrested and tried for crimes against national security twice, in December 2006 and April 2010.
Persecution and Imprisonment
After his first arrest in December 2006, Pastor Behnam was given a five-year suspended prison sentence. He was not required to go to prison.
On 14 April 2010, officers from Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and National Security (VEVAK) raided a house church service, assaulted Pastor Behnam and took him into custody. Other church members were interrogated by the officers who also confiscated Bibles, Christian literature and DVDs.
Pastor Behnam was imprisoned for two months before being released on bail in June 2010.
On 31 May 2011, a warrant was issued for Pastor Behnam’s arrest. He turned himself in and began serving a one year sentence. Shortly before his release, Pastor Behnam was informed that he was required to serve five years in prison from his previous sentence.
Pastor Behnam is Sick in Prison
There are recent reports that Pastor Behnam is very sick in prison. He is regularly beaten by prisoners under orders from the prison authorities and has recently been vomiting blood. It is believed that he may have Inflammatory Bowel Disease.
VEVAK (considered a terrorist organisation by the United States) is denying Pastor Behnam access to medical care. Instead of executing him for apostasy (rejecting Islam), it appears that the authorities are happy for Pastor Behnam to die slowly in prison.
It is urgent that we pray for Pastor Behnam Irani and his family. Please take a few minutes right now to pray for him. Also, please encourage your youth group or church to pray for him and for other persecuted Christians in Iran.
- Pray that Pastor Behnam will be allowed access to medical care and that the Lord will restore his health.
- Pray that Pastor Behnam will continue to be unashamed of the Gospel and will take every opportunity to share the love of God with his fellow-prisoners.
- Pray that God will comfort Pastor Behnam’s wife and children and that they will continue to trust the Lord.