Despite deteriorating health, two women stand firm

By September 22, 2009

Iran (MNN) — In
March, officials incarcerated Maryam Rustampoor and Marzieh Amirizadeh in one
of Iran's worst prisons. Their health has deteriorated in the harsh

"Neither one
are in good health," reports Todd Nettleton with Voice of the Martyrs.
"They both have had health difficulties since they've been in

Nettleton explains
that there is a "method to the madness" of forcing these believers to
endure horrible circumstances.

"The goal of
the justice system there, using the term ‘justice' very loosely," he
explains, "is to pressure them and force them and make them so miserable
that they will deny their faith in Christ and return to Islam."

On March 5,
Rustampoor and Amirizadeh were accused of "acting against state
security" and "taking part in illegal gatherings." Currently
they are incarcerated at Evin Prison, known for its notoriously harsh treatment
of prisoners. Maryam and Marzieh share a cell with 27 other women; illness is
spreading rapidly in the prison, VOM states. 

According to a
recent VOM report, Marzieh and Maryam are suffering from sore throats,
irregular painful stomach aches, and intense headaches. Marziah needs prayer for
a critically-infected tooth.

"Right now,
they're simply treating her with pain medication instead of treating her with
anything that would fight the infection," says Nettleton. "There's a
very real fear that the infection could spread and cause even more trouble for

These women have
stood boldly for Christ in many interrogations and trials. Click here to see
details of the August 8 interrogation.
In that case, both women were ordered to
deny their faith in verbal and written statements. Standing firm, they both
declared, "We love Jesus. We will not deny our faith." They have been
sent back to prison to await the judge's verdict.

"The judge is
basically saying 'OK, well we'll send you back to prison and try to make you so
miserable that in fact you will take a different course and you will decide to
renounce your faith.," Nettleton interprets.

He says prayer and
urgent action are both needed to make a difference in this situation.

"Obviously, we
need to pray specifically about their health, and particularly I think for this
toothache. The Lord could touch and bring healing in a dramatic way, and I
think that would be an incredible testimony to their faithfulness and to the
fact that God is in control and is working through this situation."

You could be a voice
for these women by clicking here.

"You can
literally send an e-mail to his office and say 'Listen, Maryam and Marzieh are
not a threat to the Iranian government. They're simply two ladies who want to
follow Jesus Christ, and they should be released.'"

Nettleton also urges
believers to write letters of encouragement to Maryam and Marzieh. In doing so,
"they'll know that people around the world haven't forgotten them,"
he says.  "They're part of our
family…and their family around the world remembers them and is praying for

Ask others to join you in praying for these Christians by
posting "Prisoner Profiles" in your
church or Christian school. Find these profiles at


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