Iranian pastor and family “watched, controlled and wiretapped” while awaiting prison sentence appeals
An Iranian Christian has spoken of the surveillance ordeal her father, mother and brother are enduring as they wait for an appeal hearing against lengthy prison sentences imposed for “acting against national security”.
Dabrina Bet Tamraz said her father Pastor Victor, her mother Shamiram and brother Ramiel have been freed on bail in Iran pending a further joint hearing, but no date has been set.
Dabrina, who has taken refuge in Switzerland, said, “They are trying to survive, not knowing what is going to happen next. They are living with constant anxiety, powerless, not having security and safety even in their own home … They are watched, controlled and wiretapped.”
Victor was pastor of an Assyrian church in Tehran before it was closed for worshipping in Farsi, the language spoken by most Iranians, who are Muslim.
Historic Assyrian and Armenian Christian minorities who have their own languages, not spoken by the Muslim majority, are usually allowed to worship freely in those languages. However, Christian worship meetings in Farsi, the national language, spoken by the Muslim majority, are often targeted by the Iranian authorities, in their efforts to discourage conversion of Muslims to Christianity.
Pastor Victor and his wife held meetings in their home prior to their arrest. They have been given sentences of five and ten years, respectively. In July 2018, their son Ramiel became the third member of the family to be convicted and imprisoned.