Published: 09:00 GMT Daylight Time - Tuesday 17 July 2012
Iranian Christian convert released after eight months in jail
Country/Region: Middle East and North Africa, Iran
A convert from Islam to Christianity has been released from prison in Iran after spending eight months behind bars, including 105 days in solitary confinement.
Eshan Behrooz, a 24-year-old student from Mashhad, was released on 16 June having endured tough mental and physical conditions.
Eshan Behrooz refused
to denounce his Christian faith
Image source: FCNN
Barnabas Aid reported on 30 April that Iranian officials had promised to release Eshan.
He had first been arrested on 8 July 2010 with other new converts to Christianity. Eshan refused to sign a disclaimer denouncing his Christian faith so was held in custody. He was temporarily released three months later upon the payment of an US$60,000 bail but kept under surveillance, which caused both his physical and psychological health to suffer.
On October 23 2011, Eshan was arrested for a second time by the provincial security authorities, who transferred him to an unknown location. His family and friends did not know for some time that he had been re-arrested.
Eshan suffered many mental and physical problems during his period in solitary confinement and was deprived of basic rights that prisoners usually receive, such as being allowed to contact his family and talk to a lawyer.
He had been studying management at the University of Mashhad, and it is feared that he may be refused readmission, thus jeopardising his education and career prospects.
Eshan had set up an internet café to help fund his studies, but this was closed down by the authorities following his arrest; they alleged that it had been created for Christians to communicate with each other online.
Many young Iranians like Eshan are leaving Islam to follow Christ despite the Islamic regime’s harassment and ill-treatment of Christians.