An Iranian pastor has been released from prison after serving six years for “acting against national security”.

Behnam Irani, from the self-styled “Church of Iran”, was originally given a five-year suspended sentence in 2008. He was re-arrested in 2010 during a service at a “house church” and in 2011 he was told he must serve his five-year sentence, plus an additional one year.

He suffered serious health issues during his time in prison, much of which was a result of the physical abuse he received at the hands of fellow prisoners, according to Middle East Concern. In February 2014, he reportedly underwent an operation for bleeding from his stomach and colon.

Later that year, he was sentenced to a further six years in prison, solitary confinement and exile to a remote outpost near the Afghanistan border for “spreading corruption on Earth”. However, the additional charges were dropped on appeal.

He was finally released last night (17 October).