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Iranian pastor and wife imprisoned for celebrating Christmas

by Sophie Drew
Mattias.jpg - Banner image
Middle East Concern

Iranian Christians are urging people to pray for a pastor and his wife arrested for converting to Christianity.

Religious freedom group Middle East Concern (MEC) is raising concern for Pastor Abdolreza (Matthias) Haghnejad who was arrested on 26th December when intelligence agents raided a house church.

Those in the home were celebrating Christmas.

A week later, according to MEC, Matthias’ wife Anahita (Anna) was then summoned and arrested.

They, along with two other Christian converts, have been transferred to Lakan Prison.

Matthias had been detained in prison since January 2022, branded “an enemy of the state”. He was allowed to leave the facility, and used his leave to preach and minister to people.

He was originally handed the 6-year sentence in 2014, following national security charges, but it was successfully appealed.

Last year, the charges were handed back to Matthias, resulting in his return to prison.

He has already been served a five-year prison sentence, which was rescinded in January 2021, on charges of “endangering state security and promoting Zionism” via a separate court case.

He was one of nine prisoners released in December 2021 after being detained on similar charges.

He was acquitted last year, a month after the national security charges were enforced again.

Matthias’ and his wife are concerned about Anna’s health, and are concerned for their teenage daughter, who will now have to live with her grandparents.

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