A pastor of a leading evangelical denomination in Iran has been returned to prison after he was beaten and disappeared earlier this month, Christians and activists confirmed Thursday, June 26.
Pastor Behnam Irani of the Church of Iran, who was reportedly assaulted and transferred to a previously unknown location on June 7, has been jailed again in Ghezal Hesar Prison, said advocacy group Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW).
Officers of the Ministry of Intelligence and National Security (VEVAK) attacked the pastor on June 7 after he was charged with communicating with media and he objected to “irregular summons” from a judge.
“The pastor was then transferred to a VEVAK detention centre, where he was kept in solitary confinement and interrogated on five occasions for four hours each time,” CSW said in a statement.
LONGER PRISON TERM?
He was warned that if he does not obey VEVAK, he will receive a further sentence and remain in prison for a longer time, Christians said.
Authorities also confiscated Pastor Irani’s Bible and other Christian literature, according to Christians familiar with the case.
Pastor Irani was initially detained in December 2006, and sentenced in 2011 to six years imprisonment for “action against the state” and “action against the order.”
During his first few months in Ghezal Hesar Prison, Pastor Irani was “held incommunicado in a small cell,” where guards repeatedly woke him from sleep as a form of psychological torture.
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