A pastor at the Assemblies of God Church of Ahwaz, imprisoned for his faith in Iran has been released.
According to a story by Mohabat News, Davoud Alijani (also known as David), was released from Karoon Prison on Jan. 13, after spending 257 days locked up.
He was released with 20 days remaining on his original prison term.
Security authorities had raided a Christmas celebration on December
23, 2011, and arrested Alijani and a number of other members of the
Ahwaz Assemblies of God church.
Those arrested were threatened, interrogated, and had their personal
information and addresses recorded. Everyone except Pastor Farhad
Sabokrouh, his wife Shahnaz Jayzan, and two church ministers, Naser
Zamen-Dezfuli and Alijani, were released after a few hours.
Mohabat News said the four detainees were charged with converting
from Islam to Christianity (apostasy), proselytizing Muslims, and
working against the Islamic regime through evangelism.
Based on these accusations, the Revolutionary Court of Ahwaz sentenced the four to one year in prison.
Mohabat News said Sabokrouh and Zamen-Dezfuli were released on
December 4, 2013 , after spending 214 days in prison, while Sabokrouh's
wife, Shahnaz Jayzan is still in prison.
However, unconfirmed reports
indicate that she will be released in the next several days.
The raid on the church was a shock to the Iranian Christian
community, since the Assemblies of God Church of Ahwaz is a registered
church and operates under the supervision of security authorities.
Mohabat News commented, "This is also an indication of the arbitrary oppression of Christians by the Islamic regime of Iran."