CHINA — Human Rights Lawyer Alive — ChinaAid Association
On March 28, human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng, who has been missing for more than a year, contacted his wife and children, according to ChinaAid Association. Gao’s wife, Geng He, and children were relieved to hear from him after such a long time. Geng He hopes her husband can rejoin the family in the United States soon. In recent months, rumors had circulated that Gao had died of torture at the hands of Chinese officials. “Gao’s brief phone conversations with western media on Sunday mark the first official contact the public has had with him since his abduction by police on Feb. 4, 2009,” ChinaAid reported. Gao told the Associated Press and Reuters news agencies that he was released from Chinese custody six months ago and taken to Wutai Shan mountain, a Buddhist landmark in Shanxi province. He declined to give other details on his condition, saying legally he could not give interviews.VOM encourages you to pray that Gao will be able to rejoin his family. Praise God that Gao is safe for now, and ask God to encourage him and his family during this challenging time. Pray that God will give Gao the grace to forgive his persecutors, and pray that the Holy Spirit will minister to him.
IRAN — Pastor Released from Jail — Farsi Christian News Network
On March 28, Rev. Wilson Issavi was temporarily released from Dastgard prison after posting bail, according to Farsi Christian News Network (FCNN). His charges are pending review by the court. Rev. Issavi, leader of the Pentecostal church in Kermanshah, was arrested in February and detained for 54 days by Iranian government officials. A month prior to his arrest, the Pentecostal church in Kermanshah was closed, and the pastor was told not to reopen it. “The Pentecostal Church of Kermanshah is one of the three churches that during the last year have been closed by the security forces of the government on the charges of attempting to convert Muslims to Christianity,” FCNN reported. Churches in Shahrara and Urumieh have also been shut down. The Pentecostal church, which is an old and historical building in need of repair, was used mainly for weekly Christian services. The Voice of the Martyrs has stood with Rev. Issavi and his family through these challenges. Pray that the charges against him will be dropped and that all Christians who are currently detained in Iran will be freed. Ask God to protect and minister to believers in Iran who risk their all for the sake of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
VIETNAM — Update: Christian Lawyer Released — Compass Direct News
On March 6, Christian human rights lawyer Le Thi Cong Nhan was released from prison after serving a three-year sentence for “propagandizing to destroy the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.” Cong Nhan’s original four-year sentence was reduced by one year after an international outcry over her sentence. Now serving an additional three-year sentence of house arrest, Cong Nhan has stated that she has no intention of giving up her struggle for a just and free Vietnam and accepts that there may be a further price to pay. While in prison, she went on a hunger strike twice when authorities took her Bible away from her. Thank the Lord that Cong Nhan has been released from prison. Pray that she will look to Christ for strength and grace as she faces three years of house arrest.