Please pray for Pastor Avedian, an Iranian-Armenian pastor, as he begins his sentence in Evin Prison.
In addition to his prison sentence, Pastor Avedian also faces a further ten years of ‘deprivation of social rights’
Anooshavan Avedian, an Iranian-Armenian pastor, has begun his ten-year sentence in prison.
Pastor Avedian (61) was sentenced more than a year ago, but wasn’t summoned to serve his sentence until last week when he was visited by two officers from the Ministry of Intelligence. Coincidentally, the visit took place the same day Pastor Joseph Shahbazian was released from Evin Prison.
Pastor Avedian’s ordeal began over three years ago when he was arrested during a raid on his home, alongside two Christian converts, Soori and Mohammadi, who received non-custodial sentences. In addition to his decade-long prison term, Avedian also faces a further ten years of ‘deprivation of social rights’ after his eventual release. Despite all three Christians applying for a retrial with the Supreme Court, their requests were summarily rejected.
Avedian’s lawyer revealed that his client faced the summons without any prior notice of the legal procedure, a development which raised concerns about the violation of due process and the use of security pressure. The lawyer further explained that the officers who visited Avedian threatened to forcibly handcuff and transport him to prison if he refused to comply.
As Avedian begins his prison term, concerns about religious freedom and the arbitrary nature of justice continue to loom large within Iran's legal system. Earlier this month (September), Joseph Shahbazian – who was initially sentenced to ten years in Evin Prison for his involvement in a house church – was freed. Let us pray that the Iranian authorities will relent and free Pastor Avedian too.
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