Update April 25, 2016
Several weeks ago, Farshid was able to safely leave Iran after his December release from prison. He is in good health and will spend the next year recovering. He said he could feel “the aroma of the prayers of God’s people” while in prison. Sadly, the time in prison was very hard on Farshid’s marriage. While close friends hoped for restoration, his divorce was recently made final. Please pray for Farshid, his ex-wife, Leila, and their two children, Rosanna (12) and Bardia (7). Farshid will take a break from public ministry for the next 12 months.
Update December 29, 2015
Praise God for the release of Farshid Fathi, who spent five years in prison for his Christian faith. Iranian authorities released him on Dec. 21, 2015, just in time to celebrate Christmas with his wife and daughters. Farshid was arrested on Dec. 26, 2010 as part of a crackdown on believers and charged with “acting against national security.” His sentence was expected to end in December 2017, but Farshid received notification that he would be released early.
Update July 9, 2015
Farshid was notified in writing by prison authorities that he is due for early release in December 2015. His full sentence was previously set for release in December 2017.
Pray that the authorities will keep their commitment to release him in December 2015 or earlier and that God will continue to use Farshid in these last months in prison.
Update June 3, 2015
Farshid Fathi lost an appeal on May 24 and will be expected to serve the additional one-year term added to his sentence. He has also been transferred to Hall 2, Ward 1 of the Rajai Shahr Prison, a section for those convicted of robbery, violent acts, and drug-related crimes. Middle East Concern reported that one of his relatives said conditions in the prison are not good.
Update January 16, 2015
Farshid Fathi has been sentenced to another year in prison. This additional time begins immediately after the six-year sentence he is currently serving. He is now due to be released December 2017, rather than December 2016. VOM partner Elam Ministries reports that the additional sentence stems from an April 2014 prison raid in which Farshid was injured. After public outcry, Farshid was transferred from Evin prison to Rajai Shahr prison in August 2014. A few days after arrival, he was falsely accused of possessing alcohol while at Evin, and on Dec. 29, he was given additional time.
Update August 28, 2014
According to Mohabat News, Farshid Fathi was transferred out of Evin prison to Rajaei-Shahri prison in another city – Karaj – for unknown reasons on Aug. 19. A source told Mohabat that the ward where Farshid was transfered “is isolated from other prison buildings and holds the most dangerous criminals.”
Update April 24, 2014
On April 17, a prison guard broke Farshid Fathi’s foot when he stomped on it during a cell inspection. Farshid went to aid a prisoner who had been beaten, and a guard stopped Farshid and crushed his bare foot with his heavy boot. Farshid’s foot and toe were broken. Farshid spent three days in agony before he was allowed to be taken to the hospital. Farshid wrote, “Though I was in dire pain, I took it as a gift from our Lord to get out of prison even for a few hours. Of course, we forgive them for all they have done to us because we are followers of the One who says, ‘Father, please forgive…’."
Update October 24, 2013
Disturbed to learn of a false story on the Internet, Farshid wrote a letter to clear up the matter.
“How can I complain about my suffering when my brothers and sisters are paying a high price for their faith all over the world? I recently heard about many people killed in front of a church in Pakistan. I also heard a young sister in Christ sharing about how she lost her family for the sake of the Gospel and still she is willing to return to share the good news.
“…So when I look at all these heroes of faith, how can I complain about my suffering? Thank you so much for your prayers..."
Update August 20, 2013
In a letter written from prison, Farshid Fathi described how his interrogators have used emotional manipulation to break him. He wrote, “I was told falsely that my wife had been arrested as well, and that I needed to give my [two] children’s custody to someone temporarily. I was also informed, falsely, that my dad had a heart attack and was hospitalized. Then they wouldn’t give me any follow-up news on whether he was dead or alive. It was all intended to put me under mental pressure.”
In reality, his father is fine, and his wife and two children fled Iran in 2011. They are now in Canada.
Update November 20, 2012
Farshid wrote a letter to his father in November 2012, which describes the condition of his heart during a very lonely time.
“Often I have been sorrowful because of certain things, but I have never been a slave of sadness. Often I have been insulted, humiliated and accused, but I have never doubted my identity in Christ. Some have deserted me, some have fled from me; in no way do I pass judgment on them. My Lord has never left me.
“…What really matters is I am my Beloved’s and my Beloved is mine. This possibly is the sweetest truth of my life that I am His and He is mine.”
Farshid Fathi was arrested on Dec. 26, 2010 in a wave of arrests of believers in Tehran and other areas. Of the 22 believers arrested by security forces in Tehran, 10 were released after intense questioning and after they signed agreements to refrain from Christian activities. Eleven others were also later released. By the end of April, 2011, only Farshid remained in prison, though his family had paid an enormous bail sum. He spent nearly a year in solitary confinement.
Farshid, a Christian convert from Islam, was charged with “acting against national security through membership of a Christian organization, collection of funds, propaganda against the Islamic Regime by helping spread Christianity in the country,” and sentenced to six years of imprisonment on March 5, 2012. Though the charge is for his Christian work, authorities tried to cast his activities as political offenses.
Farshid’s appeal against the charges was rejected in June 2012. He is due to serve the rest of his sentence in Evin Prison.
According to Elam Ministries, Farshid is a shining beacon for Christ in Evin, so much so that the son of an Iranian ayatollah commented on Farshid's sweet nature in a YouTube video. The two shared a cell. The man remarked on how beloved Farshid is among the inmates. Elam described Farshid as “a man after God’s own heart.”
Farshid, born in 1979, is married to Leila, and has two children, Rosana and Bardia.
Dr. Hassan Rouhani
President of the Islamic Republic of Iran
Palestine Avenue, Pasteur St., Pasteur Sq.
Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
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Fax: 98 21 649 5880
Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations
622 Third Avenue
New York, NY
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Ayatollah Sayed Ali Khamenei
Leader of the Islamic Republic
The Office of the Supreme Leader
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Fax: + 98 251 7 774 2228