On February 20, 2017, two Christian converts were arrested in Urmia, the capital of West Azerbaijan province in Iran, Middle East Concern reports. The home of Anousheh Reza-bakhsh (known as Veronika) and her son Soheil Zagarzadeh Sani (known as Augustine) was raided by Revolutionary Guard intelligence officers.
Veronika and Augustine converted to the Catholic Church and were baptized in Istanbul, Turkey in August 2016. Following their baptism, they returned to Iran where Augustine and his mother continued to read and learn about the Christian faith.
At the time of their arrest, their home was searched and Christian books and material were found among Augustine's belongings. He has been a keen follower of online Christian theological training programmes and Christian satellite TV channels.
Currently, there is no further information about their whereabouts and well-being since the day of their arrest, Middle East Concern says.
It is believed that they have been detained at the intelligence building of the Revolutionary Guards, where access to information and detainees is strictly denied.
Iran continues to monitor and persecute Christians across the country.
Often, detainees are subject to psychological and physical harm by the authorities.
Iranian Christians request prayer that:
• The Revolutionary Guards will disclose the location of Veronika and Augustine;
• Veronika and Augustine will not be harmed and will remain in good health;
• Efforts to discover their whereabouts will be successful;
• God will grant His peace and strength to Veronika and Augustine and their families;
• All officials involved will love mercy, act justly, learn about Jesus and choose to follow Him.
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