Iranian pastor Behnam Irani has been released from prison in Iran after being jailed for six years for leading a house church and sharing his faith.
Partners of advocacy organisation Release International have confirmed Behnam Irani has finally been freed, although he is said to be in poor health following his ordeal in Ghezal Hesar prison.
Paul Robinson, the chief executive of Release International, said, ‘We are delighted that Pastor Irani has finally been set free. We have been campaigning for this for years.
‘However, our partners report that 200 other prisoners remain in jail in Iran because of their faith — a number have been arrested over the past year. Like Behnam Irani, many of these Christian prisoners have been beaten, abused and threatened. Release urges Iran to end its long-running crackdown on the church and set free all of its prisoners who are behind bars for their religious beliefs’.
Earlier this month, three Iranian Christians were sentenced to 80 lashes for taking communion wine. Like Behnam Irani, they face charges of crimes ‘against national security’.