Iranian Christian prisoner with broken health begins “exile” after release from prison
Ebrahim Firouzi, an Iranian Christian convert in a weakened state of ill health, was released after six years in Rajai Shahr jail on 26 October and is expected to serve a two-year period of internal exile in Sarbaz, a deprived area in Sistan-Baluchestan Province.
Since his conversion from Islam to Christianity, Firouzi has endured numerous arrests and periods of imprisonment on charges including “plotting against the Islamic regime” which is typical of those faced by Iranian Christians actively engaged in ministry.
His imprisonment included terms in the notorious Evin prison, where he suffered interrogations and beatings and was repeatedly denied medical and dental treatment. His dental problem was so severe at one point that he could not eat properly.
Firouzi was refused permission to attend his mother’s funeral in December 2018. He went on a ten-day hunger strike in July 2017 to protest the unjust prison terms and refusal of access to Christian literature or contact with fellow Christian prisoners, one of whom was his church leader, Pastor Victor Bet Tamraz.
In August 2013, Firouzi was arrested and later convicted of charges including evangelism, connections with enemies and foreign “anti-regime networks” and launching a Christian website. He was sentenced to one year in prison and a further two years of exile in Sarbaz, a remote town near the Iran-Pakistan border. Although he completed his sentence on 13 January 2015, Iranian authorities continued to hold him in Rajai Shahr prison. Firouzi was charged again in March 2015 with “acting against national security, gathering and collusion” and sentenced to an additional five years, upheld by the Iranian Court of Appeal in December 2016.