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Iranian pastor freed in time to spend Christmas with his family

A pastor was freed in Iran this week after serving five of a seven-year prison term in an Iran prison for distributing religious material to others, according to his fellow church leaders. Farshid Fathi, 36, married and the father of two, was charged with “taking actions against national security,” and unlawfully possessing and spreading Christian propaganda material, according to those familiar with the case. “We are overjoyed and celebrating!” Executive Director David Yeghnazar of Elam Church, the group to which Fathi belonged to, said on their website. “Please pray especially for protection, his family and his adjustment to life outside prison,” he said. Elam was founded in 1990 by senior Iranian church leaders to grow the church inside Iran. Iran’s Intelligence Ministry arrested Fathi just a day after Christmas in 2010 along with 60 other Christians at his home in Tehran and taken to the notorious Evin Prison. At age 17, Fathi converted to Christianity, which is illegal in Iran where conversions are not recognized by law. Fathi remained steadfast sending poems and letters to his supporters thoughout his incarceration.
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