Prosecuted Pentecostal Pastor and Wife Flee Iran

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

By Stefan J. Bos, Special Correspondent Worthy News

(Worthy News) - A prominent Pentecostal pastor and his wife have fled Iran after their appeal against a 15-year combined prison sentence for Christian activities failed, rights activists and family confirmed late Tuesday.

Pastor Victor Bet-Tamraz and his wife, Shamiram, left Iran with “heavy hearts” to continue their legal battle from abroad, added their daughter Dabrina in published remarks.

“We continue to pray and hope for their sentences to be dropped,” she said.

Pastor Bet-Tamraz was reportedly sentenced in July 2017 to ten years imprisonment for “acting against national security” by organizing and conducting house church services.

Shamiram received a five years jail sentence in January 2018, for “acting against national security”, Christians said.


The charges were linked to her organizing small Christian groups, attending a seminary abroad and training church leaders and pastors to act as “spies”, stressed advocacy group Barnabas Fund.

Their appeals against these sentences eventually failed. The pastor’s lawyer informed him on July 19 that his three-year-long appeal battle had ended in rejection, added Barnabas Fund which closely followed the case.

And on August 11 his wife was summoned to present herself at Tehran’s Shahid Moghadas Court, within the notorious Evin prison compound, according to Christians familiar with the case.

She had to report herself “within five days to commence her sentence or face arrest,” said Barnabas Fund.

The prosecutions prompted the couple, both in their 60s, to escape, Christians explained. More details about there whereabouts were not immediately released amid security concerns.


The troubles began for Pastor Victor Bet-Tamraz while leading a Pentecostal Assyrian church in Tehran, the capital. Iranian authorities forced the congregation to change its worship language from Farsi to Assyrian.

He then took the Farsi speaking church underground, several sources confirmed. Farsi is the national language of Iran, spoken by all Iranians, both Muslims and the non-Muslim minority groups.

“Christian worship in Farsi is often targeted by authorities in their efforts to discourage the conversion of Muslims to Christianity,”
commented Barnabas Fund.

“Assyrian Christians are normally expected to worship in the Assyrian language, which is not understood by Muslim Iranians.” Iranian authorities have expressed concern about the spread of Christianity among Muslims in the strict Islamic nation.

Despite these difficulties, mission groups suggest there are at least hundreds of thousands of devoted Christians in the country of nearly 85 million people. They reportedly include many former Muslims who turned to Christianity, seeking freedom from strict Islamic rules.