Iran
An Iranian pastor who faced a death sentence because of accusations he abandoned Islam for Christianity walked out jail a free man Saturday, according to a Christian human-rights organization.   After 2 years, 11 months behind bars, ....
Authorities in Iran this week ordered the closure of a church in the capital, Tehran, amid a government campaign to crack down on the few recognized churches offering Farsi-speaking services, according to a human rights group. The order came from ....
Leaders of the Assemblies of God’s (AOG) Central Church of Tehran told their congregation on Sunday (May 6) that authorities have demanded a list of names and identification numbers of church members, a major risk to converts from Islam. Church ....
The main defense lawyer for Iranian pastor Yousef Nadarkhani, who is appealing a death sentence, may be facing imminent imprisonment for defending the rights of Iranians, according to Amnesty International.   Mohammad Ali Dadkhah, a ....
Crackdown Hits Official Churches    Published in 2012
In a rare crackdown on a concentrated area, Iranian authorities have arrested Christians living in the country’s third largest city in what is seen as a tactic to discourage Muslims and converts to Christianity from attending official churches. ....
Lawyers for an Iranian pastor awaiting a final decision on his death sentence have not received communication from authorities that their client will be executed, despite reports that his death is imminent.  Rumors of an imminent execution of ....
Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence has ordered the last two officially registered churches holding Friday Farsi-language services in Tehran to discontinue them. Emmanuel Protestant Church and St. Peter’s Evangelical Church were the last two official ....
Authorities Raid House Church in Shiraz    Published in 2012
Iranian authorities this week arrested Christian converts from Islam while they were meeting for worship at a home in the southern city of Shiraz, according to sources. Officials are holding the Christians at an unknown location, they said. The ....
A pastor in Iran sentenced to death for refusing to recant his faith may have to wait another year for a ruling on whether the sentence will be upheld, according to sources.   Yousef (also spelled Youcef) Nadarkhani, sentenced to death after ....
The mistreatment of a pastor in Iran awaiting a decision on his death sentence for refusing to recant his faith amounts to physical and psychological torture, a source close to the pastor’s family said.   Yousef (also spelled Youcef) ....
Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani refused to recant his Christian faith today at the fourth and final court hearing in Iran to appeal his death sentence for apostasy (leaving Islam). The court house in Rasht, 243 kilometers (151 miles) northwest of Tehran, ....
It was early in the morning the day after Christmas. It was cold. Mehdi Forootan sat in the back seat of an undercover police car in front of his house in Tehran, Iran. He was barely awake. An officer pointed a camcorder at him.   The officer ....
Iranian authorities on Monday (Aug. 29) released a Christian after 359 days of detainment on charges of spreading Christianity among Farsi-speaking Iranians and having ties with foreign Christian organizations, according to Mohabat News. ....
A pastor in Iran found guilty of leaving Islam awaits the outcome of a judicial investigation into his spiritual background to see if he will be executed or, if possible, forced to become a Muslim, according to Christian groups with ties in Iran. ....
Increased public statements against Christianity in Iran have intensified pressures on Christians, sources said, but at their core they reflect Islamic leaders’ dismay with the growth of house churches and may signal dissension within Iran’s ....
Iranian authorities have released about half of the Christians arrested for their faith across the country in December and January, as well as one held in Shiraz since June, sources said.   In December and January authorities arrested up to ....
Speeches by Iranian religious and political figures between August and October who acknowledged the existence of home fellowships and condemned them as a threat to the state triggered Iran’s crackdown on Christians in the past few months, analysts ....
Nearly five months after releasing them from prison, an Iranian court has acquitted two women of all charges related to being Christians and engaging in Christian activities. Iranians Maryam Rostampour and Marzieh Amirizadeh Esmaeilabad were ....
An Assyrian pastor the Iranian government accused of “converting Muslims” has been released from prison on bail and is awaiting trial.   The Rev. Wilson Issavi, 65, was released from Dastgard prison in Isfahan last week. Conflicting reports ....
An Assyrian pastor the Iranian government accused of “converting Muslims” is being tortured in prison and threatened with execution, sources close to the case said. State Security agents on Feb. 2 arrested the Rev. Wilson Issavi, 65, shortly after ....
At least 14 Christians have been detained in Iranian prisons for weeks without legal counsel in the past few months as last year’s crackdown has continued, sources said. Three Christians remained in detention at Evin prison after authorities ....
A wave of arrests hit Iranian house churches during the Christmas season, leaving at least five Christian converts in detention across northern Iran, including the mother of an ailing 10-year-old girl. Security officers with an arrest warrant from ....
Two Christian Iranian women, Maryam Rostampour, 27, and Marzieh Amirizadeh Esmaeilabad, 30, were released from prison this afternoon with no bail amid an international campaign calling for their freedom since their arrest on March 5.   The ....
LOS ANGELES, August 11 (Compass Direct News) – Amid a violent crackdown on protestors and a purge of opponents within the Iranian government, more than 30 Christians were arrested in the last two weeks near Tehran and in the northern city of Rasht. ....
Amid a violent crackdown on protestors and a purge of opponents within the Iranian government, more than 30 Christians were arrested in the last two weeks near Tehran and in the northern city of Rasht.  Two waves of arrests near Tehran happened ....
A member of Iran’s Parliament reportedly revealed last week that the country’s Parliamentary Committee has stricken the mandatory death penalty for those who leave Islam from proposals for an amended penal code. Citing a BBC Persian news ....
LOS ANGELES, June 29 (Compass Direct News) – A member of Iran’s Parliament reportedly revealed last week that the country’s Parliamentary Committee has stricken the mandatory death penalty for those who leave Islam from proposals for an amended ....
In an attempt to silence a Christian human rights activist living in England, Iranian authorities arrested and interrogated his Muslim father for six days before releasing him yesterday.  Abdul Zahra Vashahi, a retired 62-year-old suffering a ....
Authorities Pressure Father of Convert    Published in 2009
LOS ANGELES, May 20 (Compass Direct News) – In an attempt to silence a Christian human rights activist living in England, Iranian authorities arrested and interrogated his Muslim father for six days before releasing him yesterday . Abdul Zahra ....
Two Christian Women Imprisoned    Published in 2009
LOS ANGELES, April 13 (Compass Direct News) – Accused of “acting against state security” and “taking part in illegal gatherings,” two Iranian Christian women have been held in a Tehran prison for over a month in a crowded cell with no access to ....
Two Christian Women Imprisoned    Published in 2009
Accused of “acting against state security” and “taking part in illegal gatherings,” two Iranian Christian women have been held in a Tehran prison for over a month in a crowded cell with no access to legal representation. Amnesty International, in an ....
LOS ANGELES, March 31 (Compass Direct News) – Declaring three Iranian Christians guilty of cooperating with “anti-government movements,” a court in Shiraz on March 10 ordered the converts to discontinue Christian activities and stop propagating ....
Declaring three Iranian Christians guilty of cooperating with “anti-government movements,” a court in Shiraz on March 10 ordered the converts to discontinue Christian activities and stop propagating their faith. An Islamic Revolutionary Court judge ....
Arrested on Jan. 21 in Tehran, converts from Islam Jamal Galishorani and his wife Nadereh Jamali have been released on bail with an open case, though charges against them are still unknown, sources told Compass. Authorities released Galishorani ....
LOS ANGELES, February 9 (Compass Direct News) – Arrested on Jan. 21 in Tehran, converts from Islam Jamal Galishorani and his wife Nadereh Jamali have been released on bail with an open case, though charges against them are still unknown, sources ....
  Jamal GhalishoraniLOS ANGELES, January 23 (Compass Direct News) – Three Christians from two different families were arrested from their homes Wednesday morning(Jan. 21) and are being held without charges, sources told Compass. Authorities ....
Three Christians from two different families were arrested from their homes Wednesday morning(Jan. 21) and are being held without charges, sources told Compass. Authorities took Jamal Ghalishorani, 49, and his wife Nadereh Jamali from their home in ....
LOS ANGELES, November 10 (Compass Direct News) – Concerns about the health and safety of the son of martyred Iranian pastor Hossein Soodmand are swirling around Ramtin Soodmand as he awaits trial for “promoting anti-government propaganda.” Soodmand ....
LOS ANGELES, October 30 (Compass Direct News) – An Iranian judge has ordered the release of two pastors charged with “apostasy,” or leaving Islam, but the defendants said the ruling was based on the court’s false claim that they confessed to having ....
LOS ANGELES, September 23 (Compass Direct News) – Without international pressure there is little to stop the Iranian government from ratifying a bill that will make “apostasy,” or leaving Islam, a capital crime, say human rights groups and experts. ....
Christians Charged with ‘Apostasy’    Published in 2008
LOS ANGELES, September 10 (Compass Direct News) – Two Iranian Christians have officially been charged with “apostasy,” or leaving Islam, as a draft law making the death penalty mandatory for those convicted of the charge is set to be debated in ....
LOS ANGELES, September 10 (Compass Direct News) – Five arrests in three cities across Iran in August suggest a continued crackdown on Iranian Christians by authorities, sources told Compass. The most recent of the arrests took place on Aug. 21, when ....
Christian couples' gravesiteISTANBUL, August 6 (Compass Direct News) – An Iranian Christian couple in their 60s died last week from injuries sustained when secret police raided a house church service hosted at their house and severely beat ....
Jailed Christian in Critical Condition    Published in 2008
ISTANBUL, July 30 (Compass Direct News) – A diabetic Iranian Christian jailed for two months is in critical condition due to lack of medical treatment, even as new reports of arrests against Christians surfaced this week. The Iranian government has ....
Tortured Christian Flees    Published in 2008
ANKARA, July 21 (Compass Direct News) – Days after his release from a month of interrogations and severe torture under secret police custody, Iranian Christian Mohsen Namvar has fled across the border into Turkey with his family. Traveling by train, ....
Ex-Muslims Detained for ‘Apostasy’    Published in 2008
ISTANBUL, July 9 (Compass Direct News) – Iranian authorities have detained two converts to Christianity in the southern city of Shiraz for eight weeks on suspicion of “apostasy,” or leaving Islam. In Iran, apostasy is a crime that can be punishable ....
ISTANBUL, July 3 (Compass Direct News) – After four weeks in police custody, Iranian Christian Mohsen Namvar was released “temporarily” last week to return to his home in Tehran. A doctor summoned to Namvar’s home after his release last Thursday ....
Tina RadLOS ANGELES, June 25 (Compass Direct News) – Security police officials in Tehran this month tortured a newly converted couple and threatened to put their 4-year-old daughter in an institution after arresting them for holding Bible studies ....
Christian Arrested without Charges    Published in 2008
ISTANBUL, June 9 (Compass Direct News) – Iran continued a wave of arrests against Christians in recent weeks, detaining a Tehran house church leader who was previously held and tortured for religious activity. Eight policemen arrested Mohsen Namvar, ....
ISTANBUL, June 3 (Compass Direct News) – Two Iranian converts to Christianity jailed for the past few weeks have been released by security police, who demanded valuable property deeds as bail collateral. Authorities in the southern city of Shiraz ....
ISTANBUL, May 28 (Compass Direct News) – Iranian police are refusing to release a Muslim convert to Christianity arrested 17 days ago in the southern city of Shiraz. Former Muslim Mojtaba Hussein has had no known charges filed against him. In spite ....
Police Arrest 12 Christian Converts    Published in 2008
ISTANBUL, May 21 (Compass Direct News) – Police in the southern Iran city of Shiraz this month cracked down against known Muslim converts to Christianity, arresting members of three Christian families and confiscating their books and computers. The ....
ISTANBUL, February 8 (Compass Direct News) – The Iranian parliament may mandate the death penalty for citizens who leave Islam, a human rights group announced this week. For the first time in Iranian history, a proposed penal code demands the death ....
Iran Still Holding House Church Leader    Published in 2007
ISTANBUL, January 4 (Compass Direct News) – All but one Iranian house church leader arrested for “evangelization” in a coordinated sweep of four cities last month were released by last week. Behrouz Sadegh-Khandjani is still in police custody in ....
December 14 (Compass Direct News) – Iranian secret police began to raid and arrest leaders of one of the Islamic republic’s indigenous house church movements last Sunday (December 10), arriving unannounced in the early morning hours to search their ....
Christian Couple Released on Bail    Published in 2006
Fereshteh, Christine & Reza(Elan Ministries)October 5 (Compass Direct News) – After nine days in secret police custody, Reza Montazami and his wife, Fereshteh Dibaj, were released on bail this morning by order of a Revolutionary Court in ....
Reza, Christine & FereshtehSeptember 29 (Compass Direct News) – Iranian secret police arrested a Christian couple in the northeastern city of Mashhad three days ago, forcing them to leave behind their 6-year-old daughter and holding them ....
Hamid Pourmand September 12 (Compass Direct News) - Tehran prison authorities sent Iranian Christian Hamid Pourmand home in late July, informing him that he would not be required to serve the remaining 14 months of his three-year prison sentence. No ....
Jailed Convert to Christianity Released    Published in 2006
Issa Motamedi MojdehiSeptember 4 (Compass Direct News) – One month after ordering his arrest, Iranian court authorities in the northern city of Rasht have released Christian convert Issa Motamedi Mojdehi, declaring the former Muslim “free for the ....
Issa Motamedi Mojdehi August 8 (Compass Direct News) – Seven years after Issa Motamedi Mojdehi converted from Islam to Christianity, Iranian secret police have jailed him for abandoning Islam but officially charged him with illegal drug trafficking. ....
Convert Pastor Released on Bail    Published in 2006
Ali KaboliJune 13 (Compass Direct) – A convert Christian jailed six weeks ago in northern Iran was released last night and reunited with his family. The family of Ali Kaboli, 51, continued to decline comment on the reason for the long-time ....
Secret Police Arrest Long-Time Convert    Published in 2006
Ali KaboliMay 22 (Compass Direct) – An Iranian Christian who converted from Islam 33 years ago is under arrest and interrogation in northern Iran, where secret police have held him incommunicado for the past three weeks. Ali Kaboli, 51, was taken ....
Hamid Pourmand March 8 (Compass) – The lawyer representing Iranian Christian prisoner Hamid Pourmand has petitioned for his early release from Tehran’s Evin Prison this month, during Iran’s annual prisoners’ amnesty. Hundreds of Iranian prisoners ....
Christian Refugees Depart for U.S.    Published in 2006
Moini Family: Kazem, Zivar, Fatemeh & HosseinFebruary 22 (Compass) – Facing the death penalty in their home country for converting to Christianity, an Iranian refugee family today left Turkey for the United States, where they have been accepted ....
Christians Mourn Martyred Convert    Published in 2005
Ghorban Dordi TouraniDecember 6 (Compass) – Iranian Christians are mourning the death of Ghorban Dordi Tourani, an Iranian believer assassinated two weeks ago by an unnamed group of fanatical Muslims and the first Turkmen in Iran known to have been ....
December 6 (Compass) – The United States has approved emergency resettlement for a family of four Iranian Christians left stranded in Turkey since an October deportation order. Last week Zivar Khademian and her three adult children were enrolled in ....
Convert Stabbed to Death    Published in 2005
November 28 (Compass) – An Iranian convert to Christianity was kidnapped last week from his home in northeastern Iran and stabbed to death, his bleeding body thrown in front of his home a few hours later. Ghorban Tori, 50, was pastoring an ....
Model Prisoner Given Home Visits    Published in 2005
Hamid PourmandNovember 8 (Compass) -- Jailed 14 months ago for converting to Christianity, former Iranian army colonel Hamid Pourmand has been allowed to visit his family on a monthly basis since August. Although the volunteer pastor continues to ....
August 12 (Compass) -- Eleven months after Iranian police arrested Hamid Pourmand for converting to Christianity, authorities at Tehran’s Evin Prison continue to pressure the former Muslim to return to Islam. Pourmand, now 48, remains incarcerated ....
Islamic Court Acquits Iranian Christian    Published in 2005
Hamid PourmandMay 30 (Compass) — An Islamic court in southern Iran acquitted Christian lay pastor Hamid Pourmand on charges of apostasy and proselytizing two days ago, declaring, “Under sharia (Islamic law), there are no charges against you.” During ....
Hamid PourmandMay 17 (Compass) -- Iranian Christian Hamid Pourmand left Tehran’s Evin Prison by armored car yesterday, en route to his home city of Bandar-i Bushehr to stand trial for his life before a sharia (Islamic) court. Although some of ....
Venue for Apostasy Trial Changed    Published in 2005
Hamid PourmandApril 30 (Compass) -- Iranian authorities abandoned preliminary hearings against Christian convert Hamid Pourmand before an Islamic sharia court in Tehran last week, apparently after news of his trial leaked out to the international ....
Convert Christian Faces Death Penalty    Published in 2005
Hamid PourmandApril 23 (Compass) -- An Iranian convert to Christianity has been on trial for his life for the past 10 days before an Islamic court in Tehran, facing the death penalty for deserting Islam and proselytizing Muslims. Hamid Pourmand, a ....
Pastor Called Before Islamic Court    Published in 2005
Hamid Pourmand April 5 (Compass) -- Iranian Christian Hamid Pourmand must appear before the Islamic (sharia) court of Iran within nine days. An exact court date has not been released. Arrested last September when security police raided a church ....
Christian Jailed in Evin Prison    Published in 2005
March 11 (Compass) -- After months of solitary confinement, Iranian Christian pastor Hamid Pourmand now finds himself incarcerated in a group cell with other political prisoners at Tehran’s maximum-security Evin Prison. Through occasional contacts ....
Hamid Pourmand with his familyFebruary 17 (Compass) -- Yesterday a Tehran military court sentenced Iranian Christian pastor Hamid Pourmand to jail for three years, ordering his immediate transfer to a group prison cell in Tehran’s notorious Evin ....
Jailed Pastor Finally Produced in Court    Published in 2005
February 4 (Compass) -- Christian pastor Hamid Pourmand went on trial before a military court in Tehran last week, charged with deceiving the Iranian armed forces about his religion. It was the first time Iranian authorities have produced Pourmand, ....
Pastor Moved to Military Prison    Published in 2004
November 15 (Compass) -- Iranian authorities moved Christian prisoner Hamid Pourmand to a military prison last week, deepening fears for the safety of the Protestant pastor jailed nine weeks ago. A former Muslim, Pourmand converted to Christianity ....
October 6 (Compass) — Concern is growing among Iran’s evangelical community for the safety of Hamid Pourmand, a lay pastor in the Assemblies of God Church who was arrested four weeks ago by the Iranian security police. No one has been allowed ....
Pastor Hamid PourmandOctober 6 (Compass) — Concern is growing among Iran’s evangelical community for the safety of a pastor arrested four weeks ago by the Iranian security police.Iranian authorities have refused to give any reason for the arrest and ....
One Pastor Still Jailed    Published in 2004
September 14 (Compass) — Protestant church leaders in Iran learned this morning that one of 10 evangelical pastors reportedly released from detention by police authorities on September 12 is still being held incommunicado. Assemblies of God Pastor ....
Police Release 10 Evangelical Pastors    Published in 2004
September 13 (Compass) — Ten evangelical pastors and elders of Iran’s Assemblies of God Church arrested four days ago were released on Sunday, “quite late in the night,” an Iranian source confirmed. Together with 70 other Assemblies of God ....
Police Detain 80 Iranian Evangelicals    Published in 2004
Evangelical church in TehranSeptember 10 (Compass) -- Iranian police invaded the annual general conference of Iran’s Assemblies of God Church yesterday, arresting at least 80 church leaders gathered at the church’s denominational center in Karaj, 20 ....
Police Detain 80 Iranian Evangelicals    Published in 2004
September 10 (Compass) — Iranian police invaded the annual general conference of Iran’s Assemblies of God Church yesterday, arresting at least 80 church leaders gathered at the church’s denominational center in Karaj, 20 miles west of Tehran. ....
Pastor Released from Prison    Published in 2004
July 7 (Compass) — Iranian pastor Khosroo Yusefi was released from prison in northern Iran yesterday, six weeks after he was arrested with his wife and children in Chalous, a city along the Caspian Sea coast. Yusefi and another Christian believer ....
Pastor Released from Prison    Published in 2004
July 7 (Compass) — Iranian pastor Khosroo Yusefi was released from prison in northern Iran yesterday, six weeks after he was arrested with his wife and children in Chalous, a city along the Caspian Sea coast.Yusefi and another Christian believer are ....
June 29 (Compass) — More than five weeks after their arrest, Iranian Christian pastor Khosroo Yusefi and another church leader remain imprisoned in an unknown jail. Yusefi and a fellow Christian from Chalous are believed to be held in the vicinity ....
Pastor’s Wife, Children Released    Published in 2004
June 7 (Compass) — The wife and children of an Iranian Christian pastor have been released from jail a week after their arrest in northern Iran, although the pastor and three other local church leaders remain imprisoned in an unknown location. ....
Pastor’s Wife, Children Released    Published in 2004
June 7 (Compass) -- The wife and children of an Iranian Christian pastor have been released from jail a week after their arrest in northern Iran, although the pastor and three other local church leaders remain imprisoned in an unknown location. ....
Police Arrest Christian Pastor, Family    Published in 2004
May 26 (Compass) -- Iranian police arrested a Protestant Christian pastor in northern Iran three days ago, jailing him along with his wife and two teenage children. Pastor Khosroo Yusefi and his wife Nasrin were arrested on May 23 in Chalous, a town ....
(Compass) - Canadian authorities issued written verification that its embassy in the Turkish capital of Ankara has begun the immigration application process for an Iranian Christian family stranded in eastern Turkey for more than two years. An ....
Convert Family Left Stranded in Turkey    Published in 2001
(Compass) - When Mahmoud Erfani escorted his wife and three daughters across the Iranian border into Turkey 18 months ago, he thought he had left a decade of troubles behind him. Although he and his family no longer face direct persecution


North Korea
As refugees from North Korea and activists from Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) gather in Seoul, South Korea this week to highlight human rights violations in the hermit kingdom, there are signs that North Korean citizens are accessing more ....
DUBLIN, April 24 (Compass Direct News) – Eom Myong-Heui of North Korea was a loyal communist in the Workers’ Party of Korea before she became a Christian under the influence of her business partner – a missionary who was later arrested and tortured ....
Eom Myong-Heui of North Korea was a loyal communist in the Workers’ Party of Korea before she became a Christian under the influence of her business partner – a missionary who was later arrested and tortured into revealing that Eom was a believer. ....
BANGKOK, April 28 (Compass Direct News) – Former police and security officers in North Korea told a U.S. government body that their superiors had instructed them to play the role of Christians and infiltrate “underground” prayer meetings in order to ....
BANGKOK, April 25 (Compass Direct News) – Refugee testimonies in a report released this month by a U.S. government body confirm severe persecution of Christians throughout North Korea. In the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom’s ....
Refugees Facing Crackdown    Published in 2007
LOS ANGELES, July 31 (Compass Direct News) – Douglas Shin is a Korean-American pastor living in Los Angeles who has built “underground railroads” for North Korean refugees since 2000 as leader of the “Exodus 21” movement. Compass Direct News caught ....
June 14 (Compass) – Communist authorities in Laos arrested 10 North Korean refugees and two South Korean activists in late May as they attempted to reach safety in neighboring Thailand, a South Korean newspaper reported on Friday (June 9). After ....
(Compass) — Two South Korean pastors and two laymen, imprisoned in China because of their pastoral and humanitarian work among North Korean refugees, await court decisions on their fate. Rev. Choi Bong Il, a veteran pastor of the Church of Holiness ....
Catholics Continue Dialogue    Published in 2001
(Compass) - Catholic sources in Rome revealed in March that they consider the number of Catholics in North Korea to be 3,000 but added privately that the official Catholic church in this totalitarian state could be a \"complete sham.\" They also ....
Vatican Delegation Visits    Published in 2000
(Compass) - A delegation from the Vatican concluded a visit to North Korea on November 14. They were sent to discuss a possible visit from the pope, proposed by South Korean President Kim Dae Jung at the June summit with his northern counterpart, ....
Executions of Christians Suspected    Published in 2000
(Compass) - Reports tell of seven Christian men, from 15 to 58 years of age, who were executed in April for their faith. North Korea, a fanatically communist state, continues to hound all religious believers. Witnesses before the U.S. Congress in ....
(Compass) - Ten thousand North Korean refugees lie shivering in holes in the ground in northern China, awaiting certain discovery by Chinese police and rapid repatriation to an uncertain fate in North Korea, wrote a northern China citizen. The ....
Suffering Increases    Published in 2000
(Compass) - A report of the U.S. Congressional Advisory Group in mid January declared North Korea to be \"the only place on earth where a hungry child wandering away from home is imprisoned.\" Quoting defectors, the report said there was a massive ....