Church in Chains, 10 August 2021 (excerpts)
On 3 August Christian convert Naser Gol-Tapeh celebrated his 60th birthday behind bars. Naser, in poor health, has been serving a ten-year prison sentence for “acting against national security through the formation and establishment of an illegal church organisation in his home” since January 2018. His three appeals for a retrial have been denied, and his appeal for parole after serving over one third of his sentence has also been denied.
Naser recently spoke in an audio message from prison in which he reflected on persecution, forgiveness, and justice. He said he bore no grudge against those who sent him to prison and asks for God’s forgiveness and blessing upon them.
Naser also said that it is quite clear to him that he is being imprisoned because he is a follower of Jesus. He mentioned that Jesus forewarned his followers about persecution and stated in John 15:19, “If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.”