The brother of an Iranian Christian who met with President Trump at the White House last July has been released from prison along with a handful of other Christians and high-profile international political prisoners in Iran.
Assyrian Christian Dabrina Bet Tamraz confirmed to the Iranian human rights watchdog organization Article 18 that her brother, 35-year-old Ramiel Bet Tamraz, was released three months early from his four-month prison sentence for participating in house churches.
Tamraz’s release comes along with the release of over 85,000 other prisoners serving short-term prison sentences in an attempt by the Iranian regime to combat the spread of the coronavirus in its overcrowded prisons.
Tamraz had been in prison since early January and was released in late February.
“We are very happy and excited that Ramiel is safe and back home. This was a big surprise and a miracle for our family,” Dabrina Bet-Tamraz told Al Arabiya English. “We still pray for those who are in prison, for God’s protection over their health.”
As there are over 18,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Iran, prisoners in the Islamic Republic have reportedly tested positive for the virus. Those include prisoners at Iran’s notorious Evin Prison, which is known for holding political prisoners.
Many others who gained their freedom in the mass release will only be released for a temporary amount of time before they must go back to prison. But Tamraz will not have to serve the remainder of his time.
An American Navy veteran, Micahel White, who has been wrongfully detained in Iran since 2018 and is serving a 13-year prison sentence, was released on a medical furlough this week. The U.S. State Department announced that he is now in the custody of the Swiss embassy. However, White’s release is conditioned upon him staying in Iran.
Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a British-Iranian mother of one from London, received a two-week release from Evin Prison.
“We again call on the Iranian government to immediately release on humanitarian grounds Morad Tahbaz, Baquer Namazi, and Siamak Namazi,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement. “We also ask the regime to honor the commitment it made to work with the United States for the return of Robert Levinson.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Samuel Smith