IRAN: Ramiel Bet Tamraz released from prison. Parents still awaiting appeal

Tehran – Ramiel Bet Tamraz, who was serving a 4-month sentence because of his participation in house churches, has been officially released from prison. He does not have to serve the remainder of his 4-month prison sentence. The release is part of a country wide action by the Iranian authorities where tens of thousands of prisoners have been given freedom in recent weeks to combat the spread of the coronavirus. Iran is one of the most affected countries by the coronavirus pandemic.

Article 18, a London-based non-profit organisation which is dedicated to the protection and promotion of religious freedom in Iran, reports that Ramiel Bet Tamraz was arrested for supporting and attending the ‘illegal church meetings’ organized by his father Victor Bet Tamraz. In July 2018 he was sentenced to 4 months in prison for ‘propaganda against the system’ through membership of a house-church.

Article 18 works together with daughter Dabrina Bet Tamraz, who fled Iran for the UK because of the cases. They report that the church of Victor Bet Tamraz, who was pastor of the Assyrian Pentecostal Church in Tehran, was forcibly closed in 2009 after which Victor Bet Tamraz and his wife began holding services at their house.

Victor Bet Tamraz has been sentenced to ten years in prison for ‘conducting evangelism’ and ‘illegal house-church activities’, among other charges amounting to ‘actions against national security’. Shamiram Issavi was sentenced to five years. Both are on bail, awaiting the outcome of their appeals.