As you read this, Pastor Farshid Fathi is incarcerated in Iran’s brutal Rajai Shahr prison. He is serving a six year sentence and has been separated from his family and loved ones for nearly five years.
His crime is his Christian faith and ministry work.
Who is he?
Farshid's friends invariably describe him as loving, cheerful, selfless and faithful, and always eager to help and serve others. He became a Christian at age 17 and has always been passionate about his faith. He is married with two children, Rosanna and Bardia. It was Christmas 2010 when he was arrested, along with many other Christian leaders.
This is his story:
26 December 2010: Farshid is arrested at his home in Tehran by agents of Iran's Intelligence Ministry. He is taken to Evin prison.
December 2010- February 2011: Farshid is held in solitary confinement and faces long, harsh interrogation sessions on a regular basis.
February 2011-February 2012: Farshid is held in a small cell with one other person in Section 209 of Evin.
5 February 2012: Farshid is brought to trial at Branch 15 of Revolutionary Court in Tehran. He is convicted by Judge Salavati of ‘action against the national security’, through cooperating with foreign organisations and evangelism, and sentenced to a total of six years’ imprisonment. He is moved to section 350 of Evin.
23 May 2012: Farshid’s appeal hearing occurs.
Late June 2012: A verdict is issued: it upholds the verdict of the February court.
November 2012: Farshid writes to his spiritual family from prison.
February 2013: Farshid’s family are safely resettled to Canada where they have been offered refuge.
October 2013: Farshid sends a second letter
November 2013: Farshid sends a letter to his daughter Rosanna.
December 2013: Farshid sends a Christmas message to all who have prayed for him.
26 December 2013: Day of Prayer for Farshid on the third anniversary of his imprisonment.
17 April 2014: Farshid injured in violent raid on ward 350, Evin prison. He sends a letter to praying friends on Easter Sunday.
19 August 2014: Farshid is transferred to Rajai Shahr prison, in Karaj, for unknown reasons.
3 September 2014: Farshid spends his 35th birthday in Rajai Shahr.
26 December 2014: Day of Prayer for Farshid on the fourth anniversary of his imprisonement.
December 2014: Farshid is sentenced to a further year in prison on false charges. His lawyer applies for an appeal.
4 July 2015: Farshid informed he will be released on 10 December 2015- two years earlier than expected.