Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent BosNewsLife
TEHRAN, IRAN (BosNewsLife)– Iran’s feared secret police “assaulted” the
wife and children of jailed evangelical Pastor Behnam Irani after they raided their home, a family supporter told BosNewsLife late Sunday, December 15.
“We received word from one of our sources that the Iranian secret police broke into the home of Kristina Irani, the wife of [the] imprisoned pastor,” said well-informed Jason DeMars, who assists them with advocacy.
“They confiscated her laptop computer and Christian materials she had in her home,” added DeMars, director of advocacy group Present Truth Ministries.
“While the secret police were in her home they were yelling at her and doing their best to scare her,” he said. “This really frightened the children, Rebekah and Adriel.”
DeMars stressed that the “assault on their home” was “intended to bring the maximum amount of “fear to silence them.”
The raid comes after the evangelical leader was told by a court to remain behind bars because he “did not change”.
Speaking to BosNewsLife through an interpreter recently, Pastor Behnam Irani made clear he remained faithful to Christ, despite court pressure to return to Islam.
“I’ve the joy of the Holy Spirit. I’m very thankful for Christian activists who are fighting alongside with us,” added the pastor at the time. He is among at least 100,000 devoted evangelical Christians in the strict Islamic country, according to church estimates.
Irani, 43, began a one-year prison term in 2011 but was later told he would also have to serve a five-year, previously suspended, sentence for “crimes against national security”.
Christians have also expressed concern he may face execution after a court advised such a sentence for alleged “apostasy”, or abandoning Islam.
DeMars said he has urged Christians to remember the pastor and his family in prayer. “Ask God to give them the peace that passes all understanding and that they would continue to live courageously in the face of these extreme fear tactics by the Islamic regime.”
Christians have linked the pressure to Irani’s Christian activities as an effective pastor of a 300-strong house church congregation of the evangelical Church of Iran movement.
He is held at the Ghezel Hesar Prison in Karaj city, one of the toughest jails in the country, some 20 kilometers (12 miles) west of the nation’s capital Tehran.