Christian convert imprisoned and exiled by Islamic Republic ‘died of heart attack’

Christian convert imprisoned and exiled by Islamic Republic ‘died of heart attack’

A Christian convert who had been imprisoned and exiled by the regime has been found dead aged 37. 

Ebrahim Firouzi’s family told mourners at his burial today (Thursday, 22 February) that “he died of a heart attack” on Tuesday, 20 February.

Paying tribute to Ebrahim, Article18 Director Mansour Borji, said: “Ebrahim’s untimely death is devastating. We have followed his case since he was arrested by the Iranian regime for going to a house-church and for being in possession of Bibles. 

“The Islamic Republic of Iran had sentenced Ebrahim for ‘acting against national security’, but nothing could have been further from the truth. 

“The freedom for everyone to have access to and possess a Bible was central to Ebrahim’s life and ministry. It was the reason he was initially arrested and served almost seven years in prison for. Even during imprisonment, he found creative ways to make that available to everyone when he became responsible for the prison library. During his two years in exile, and up to the last days of his life on Earth, this passion did not leave him.

After Ebrahim served his sentence, he was banished in 2019 to a remote region of Iran – near the border with Pakistan, in the remote Sistan and Baluchestan province. It was 1,000 miles from his home near the capital, Tehran. 

He had been taken into custody in 2013 as part of a wave of arrests after he was found to be in possession of Bibles, to be part of a house-church, and to have promoted Christianity. 

Mr Borji continued: “When Ebrahim was exiled he became a respected member of his new community. He was starting a business and looking forward to having a relationship.

“He helped local schools, financing toilets and sanitation projects. He bought shoes, bags, and stationery for the young children in the area. 

“He was hopeful for the future, and he created hope for the community he was living in.

“Ebrahim did not lose hope even during all those years in prison. He had an incredible fighting spirit.”

Sources say that Ebrahim’s brother had gone to visit him having not heard from him for a few days, and discovered his body in his flat.