Displaying items by tag: release from prison
Xing Hongwei is a member of China's Early Rain Covenant Church (ERCC). He was arrested in a worship service raid on 14 August and suffered greatly whilst in detention due to his medical condition. He has been freed on bail and enjoyed a celebration meal with his family. Mr Hongwei was originally arrested after more than twenty police officers raided an ERCC church service at a tea shop. Sixty church members were locked inside the building and released only after they provided their identification. Mr Hongwei was arrested because he refused to comply with the authorities' demands. ERCC, which is heavily persecuted, announced Mr Hongwei's release in a prayer request update. His faith became firmer during his time in detention and he jokingly said that he successfully went on a diet, which he could not have achieved if outside.
Iran has detained a number of foreign nationals and Iranian dual citizens in recent years, many of them on spying charges. Human rights groups have accused Tehran of using the cases as leverage to try to gain concessions from other countries. On 25 November Kylie Moore-Gilbert, a British-Australian academic serving a 10-year sentence for espionage, was freed in a swap for three jailed Iranians. She has strongly denied all charges against her, as has British-Iranian charity worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe who since 2016 has been in prison, also on spying charges. Her husband Richard said, ‘Nazanin and I are really happy for Kylie and her family. It is an early Christmas present for us all that one more of us is out and on their way home; one more family can begin to heal.’ Amnesty International said, ‘There may now be renewed grounds for hoping that UK-Iranian dual-nationals like Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Anoosheh Ashoori will also be released in the coming days or week.’