Homayoun Zhaveh and his wife Sara Ahmadi were first arrested in June 2019. In November 2020 Sara was sentenced to 11 years in prison for her alleged role in leading a house church (reduced to eight years on appeal). Homayoun was sentenced to two years for house church membership. The sentences also included a two-year ban on foreign travel, a two-year ban on membership in any social or political group, and six months of community service.
Homayoun and Sara turned themselves in at Evin Prison on 15 June 2021 but were told they could return home for the time being. On 13 August 2022, following a summons to the prison and expecting to have confiscated property returned, they were both detained. There has been a great concern for Homayoun as he has advanced Parkinson’s disease.
Iranian Christians are delighted that Homayoun and Sara have been acquitted following a review of their sentences.
On 9 May the Appeal Court in Tehran reviewed their prison sentences handed down in November 2020 and ordered their release.
The appeal court judge found no indication that Homayoun and Sara had acted against national security and stated that “the reports by the officers of the Ministry of Intelligence about the organisation of home groups to promote Christianity, membership, and participation in home groups, are not considered as acts against the country’s security, and the law has not recognised them as criminal activity.”
Iranian Christians are thankful for Homayoun and Sara’s acquittal and release and that the judge recognised that meeting in home groups as Christians is not considered a crime.
Thank the Lord for this answer to prayer.
Ask the Lord to minister to Homayoun and Sara, to help them to overcome their ordeal. Ask for strength and healing for Homayoun.
Pray that the Iranian judiciary will look to the appeal decision as a precedent in assessing Christians brought to court.
Source: Middle East Concern, Article 18, Voice of the Martyrs AU