Monday, 15 June 2009

Women imprisoned for their faith

Iran (MNN) ― Iranian security forces arrested Marzieh Amirizadeh Esmaeilabad and Maryam Rustampoor on March 5, 2009, labeling them "anti-government activists," Voice of the Martyrs reports.

Since then, the two women have been held in three different police detention centers and finally were sent to Evin Prison, which is notorious for its treatment of women. They have been subjected to repeated interrogation, but authorities have told their families that no judge is available to review their case.
""Their only crime is that they are committed Christians who follow the teachings of Jesus," Farsi Christian News Network explained. "They are being unfairly labeled as 'anti government activists' because of the hostility of the government towards practicing Christians."

The prison allows 30-year-old Marzieh and 27-year-old Maryam to call their families on the telephone for just one minute each day. Marzieh reported in the last telephone call, on March 28, that she had an infection and a high fever. "I am dying," she said. Maryam is also ill and needs medical attention.

Bail has been posted at the exorbitant amount of US $400,00. Authorities also searched the two women's apartment, confiscating their belongings. However, their faith in God remains strong despite their circumstances.
"I've taken up my cross; I now have to bear it," one of them said.

Muslims make up 99 percent of the population of Iran, which is a theocratic Shiite republic, and Christians make up less than half of one percent. The constitution guarantees religious freedom, but in reality, Christians face discrimination when they try to meet even the basic needs of their lives, including housing, education, and employment.

Evangelism and the production of Christian literature are also prohibited. Defection from Islam is punishable by death.

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