Naser Navard Gol Tapeh

Name: Naser Navard Gol Tapeh

Country/Area of Origin: Islamic Republic of Iran

Age: 57 at time of arrest

Background: Naser Tapeh is an Iranian Christian convert who was arrested for his involvement in a Christian party and sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Reason for Arrest:

Tapeh was arrested on June 24, 2016 while he was attending a Christian engagement gathering. All of the attendees were arrested, and most were Christian. The majority of the arrested Christians were released after preliminary interrogation and information gathering, but Tapeh and another family retained in custody. There is speculation that he remained detained because his older age made police officials believe he was the leader of the congregation.

Tapeh has not received a lawyer and has been routinely denied his right to due process. After a few months of questioning by government officials, he was convicted in May 2017 for “acting against national security through the formation and establishment of an illegal church organization in his home,” for which he received a 10 year prison sentence and is serving at the notorious Evin Prison as of January 2018, where Iranian Pastory Youcef Nadarkhani remains.

Tapeh appealed his detainment and conviction, but it was ultimately rejected. Tapeh does currently have a lawyer, Hossein Ahmadi Niaz.

Latest Updates:

  • On 31 January 2022, it was reported that Tapeh’s appeal for a review of his sentence has been approved; no date or time has been set for such review, but it will be undertaken by Branch 9 of the Supreme Court of Iran. Middle East Concern writes:
    • “Iranian Christians are thankful for the decisions to review the sentences but are also wary of the outcome. The courts’ handling of similar cases appears inconsistent, as individual prosecutors and judges interpret the provisions of the penal code quite differently. Iranian Christians request prayer that the judicial reviews will overturn the sentences and legal precedents will be set to allow the peaceful practice of Christianity in Iran in accordance with religious freedom as understood under international law.”
  • In January 2022 in response to the Iranian Supreme Court’s recent ruling that participation in a house church did not constitute crimes against national security and the subsequent acquittal and release of nine Christian converts, Tapeh’s lawyer Iman Soleimani submitted another petition for a retrial. He also stated he was concerned about whether Tapeh’s health has deteriorated while in detention.
  • In March 2021, reports revealed that Tapeh remains physically and mentally healthy and stable and is encouraged by the fact that he is able to communicate with other Christian prisoners in his ward. He had recently published a poem to celebrate Persian New Year:

Be my guide, O Christ, in captivity;
Do not turn away from me,
So that the roaring waves of captivity do not wash me away.
May I whisper Your name to the turbulent waves of captivity,
And may this name open doors.

Who does not rejoice in watching the sunrise?
You are the perfect light,
Like your Father in the heavens.

You called us;
You brought us fresh wine.
Your word is sweet to listening ears,
But it has no place in emotionally empty souls;
It resides in the hearts of those who love you passionately.

Your burden, O Christ
Is light for anyone who carries it.
Oh how much you love mankind;
Oh how pleasant you are!

When I think of your love,
Fear turns away from me.
Whenever I want to worship you,
I do not know how to express my joy.
When I am seeking you,
Within my heart, I find you;
The rest that you give me!
Maybe I will also be worthy to hear your call;
How beautiful is your praise on my lips!

Dear ones, the ship of Christ has anchored;
Its load is eternal crowns,
And its captain is Christ.
Anchored for us to embark on it,
He accepts the heavy laden.

Beloved Christ,
Cleanse me with hyssop too,
So that I can cross your boundless sea,
And this year may be a new year,
When all the faithful and the saved rejoice and worship in your lifeboat.

Happy New Year, and happy Nowruz to all saints in Christ.