‘Anti-state’ accusations dropped

By October 12, 2009

Iran (MNN) — Steadily
gaining strength against them since March, the tide has finally turned for
Maryam Rustampoor and Marzieh Amirizadeh. Jonathon Racho, Regional Manager for
the Middle East with International
Christian Concern
, says these persecuted believers no longer face execution.

"We don't know the
outcome," Racho says, "but we hope and pray that something good will
come out of it."

Iran's government has
continuously persecuted the pair since their arrest on March 5; multiple attempts
were made to break their spirits. Following their conversion to Christianity, the
believers were accused of "anti-state activities." Refusing to
denounce their faith, Maryam and Marzieh were taken to Evin prison, infamous
for its horrible mistreatment of inmates.

While in Evin, Maryam
and Marziah were deprived of medical attention, blindfolded and interrogated
for long periods of time. As a result of extensive
neglect and mistreatment, both have lost weight, and Marzieh suffers from a
severe tooth infection and intense headaches.

In August, Maryam and
Marziah were summoned by the court and told to recant their faith in Christ.
Yet these women stood strong for their faith, uplifting Iran's believers.

"Christians in
Iran have been greatly encouraged by Maryam and Marzieh's strength and their
persistence and perseverance in the face of persecution," Racho explains. "Maryam and Marzieh have publicly, repeatedly
said that they're not going to recant their faith in Christ.

"They have shown
an amazing courage."

Although the accusations
of anti-state activities were recently dropped, the women still face charges of
apostasy. A judge charged the two with "crimes" of apostasy and propagation
of the Christian faith; Maryam and Marzieh could face life imprisonment if
convicted. Continue to pray for the release of these believers and for the improvement of their health.

"I
hope and pray that the case of apostasy and other propagations of Christian
faith shall be dropped, but it can only happen through prayer," Racho
said. "Please, please, please don't stop praying for Maryam and Marzieh."  

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