From Christians Under Attack:
24 January 2012
Details of the savage attack on The Church of “Assembly of God” in Ahvaz
Even though the arrested Christians in the Church of “The Assembly Of God” in Ahvaz were freed a few hours after their mass arrest; none is allowed to leave the city and all live under the threat of re-arrest.
As reported by FCNN from Ahvaz - the centre of the oil rich province of Khuzestan, 900 Km South West of Tehran-after the release ofMrs. Shahnaz Jizan, the wife of Pastor Farhad Sabokruh on the first day of the year after payment of US$ 200,000, it was hoped that the rest of the arrested multitude will also be released; but so far it has remained a hope un-fulfilled.So far there is no reliable news ofPastor Farhad Sabokruh of the church of “The Assembly of God”, and his two co-workers Mr. Davood Ali-Jani (David), and Mr. Naser Zamen-Dezfuli.
None of their families have been allowed to see them, or informed neither of their physical conditions nor of their whereabouts. It can only be speculated that they are held prisoner in one of many secret hideouts of Ministry of Sate Security of the Islamic Regime. Just some sources quated prisoners now held in Karoon prison of Ahvaz ( In Sepidar region of Ahvaz).Nothing confirmed by officialls yet.
According to eye witness accounts from other members of the “Assembly of God” church and family members; all enquiries all met with conflicting, contradictory, and obtuse responses.
At first they were assured that the detainees will be released soon, but now Ahvaz offices of Islamic Judiciary has claimed not to know anything about the matter and does not have any information about their arrest and subsequent happenings, nor are they ware that these people have been arrested in the first place, or by whom!!News is not permissible!!
Arrested Christian on the eve of Christmas Eve 2011, were allowed home after a few hours of interrogation, but with a warning not to leave the city without permission. They live in fear of re-arrest at any time the State Security organs of the Islamic Republic may choose.They have been warned of contacting the media; else they will all be arrested again. Families of the still detained have been specifically told not to contact the international media else their loved ones may disappear forever.An eyewitness informed FCNN that a large number of hooded agents of the State Security of the Islamic Republic, dressed in civilian clothing, driving unmarked cars and vans; surrounded the church, blocked all approaching roads, closed nearby shops, and then stormed the church at 11:00.
Crying children and terrified mothers were then made to run the gauntlet of hooded, shouting agents, deliberately intimidating, making them cower inside the vans, before driving them away at high speed. The authorities in the city now claim not to be aware of the raid by these “unknown” persons!!
One of the biggest boasts of the Islamic Regime is its ability to control all aspects of the country’s society with the supernatural assistance it receives from the saints to do so; and yet they are entirely unaware of a raid of such magnitude.
Interrogation at school
The freed members have told friends that all the agents were hooded and would only identify themselves as security agents. No legal documents for the raid or the search were produced, and all those present at the time were put under arrest irrespective of age or gender. Everyone was made to run between hooded, obscenity screaming agents, to the waiting vans; then pushed one on top of the others, before doors slamming shut and vans driven away at high speed.
They arrived at an unidentified school in an unknown location to a well organised and prepared reception, down to chair positions and interrogation forms.
Classrooms turned holding cells, had been assigned and labelled for male and female detainees, with separate rooms for boys and girls who were arrested along with their parents and Sunday school teachers.The organisation and management of the school turned interrogation centre, showed careful planning, and controlled execution.
Authority and time to commandeer the school, gathering the necessary manpower and vehicles for such a large scale operation; is only available to State Security organs of the Islamic Republic. Any denial is only indicative of the Islamic Regime’s abject failure in protecting its innocent subjects. The undeniable complicity of its State Security agents in these and numerous other raids against Christians and Churches across the country; give a whole new meaning to the sincerity of Islamic Regime’s claim of “serving the people”.After long and gruelling interrogation, forcing detainees to sign confessional form and pledges of non-activity, or contacting the free and international media; most were allowed home, minus their mobiles, laptops, and other personal possessions. They are under orders not to leave the city, ready to be called back, soon.
The Pastor and two others are still in custody, with the so called authorities disclaiming the whole affair. Hopes and uncertainties.
Members of the church of “Assembly of God” is that Pastor Farhad Sabokrouh and his wife were not Moslem before their conversion to Christianity and cannot be charged with the “crime” of apostasy; they were both originally members of Mandaean minority.
Mandaean is an ancient faith whose believers hold that Adam received the first teaching from God and that John the Baptist was the last great teacher.
A large number of Mandaeans live near Ahvaz, and as it is not recognised by the Islamic Regime; its followers face tremendous difficulties in the Islamic Republic.
But we Christians are worried about Naser and David. Even though they converted to Christianity many years ago, as they were born in Moslem families, it is feared that they may be made to face the apostasy charge which in the Islamic Republic carries the mandatory death sentence.We should add that “Assembly of God” church, has a long history in Ahvaz going back long before the people Revolution of 1979. Shortly after the revolution, the main building of the church was confiscated and turned over to Islamic Revolutionary Foundation. For the last three decades since then, pastor’s rented house has become the place of worship and community centre.