International Christian Concern, 27th January 2024
Armenian Christian Hakop Gochumyan is still being detained in Iran. Last summer Hakop, an Armenian citizen, travelled to Iran to visit his wife Elisa’s family, an Iranian-Armenian.
On August 16th, they were arrested while visiting their friend’s home. Their arrests coincided with arrests of dozens of other Christian converts in Iran. Elisa was held for several months but was released and returned to Armenia with their children. Hakop’s trial was scheduled for January 7th. His current location and well-being are still unknown.
While Hakop and Elisa live in Armenia and only were visiting family in Iran, Elisa’s father, Rafi Shahverdian, was a well-known pastor in Yerevan after fleeing Iran in the 1990s. It is reported that Christian literature was found with them when they were arrested in Iran.
The minority Armenian Christians are given certain protections under the Islamic Republic’s legal system. They are, however, forbidden from any proselytizing to Iranian Muslims, and Farsi language Christian literature is banned. Iran is estimated to be holding more than 100 Christians in prison detention by the end of 2023.