Female converts go before Iranian judge

By April 19, 2010

Iran (MNN) — The silence from Iran is nerve-racking.
There's been no word on the result of last week's court hearing for Maryam
Rustampoor and Marzieh Amirizadeh — Iranian Christians who were arrested by
security forces in March 2009. 

Todd Nettleton with Voice of the Martyrs says that's not
unusual, but their legal strategy is. "They made the argument in court that they couldn't be apostates
because they weren't actually Muslims. They said, 'We were born into Muslim families, but we ourselves never
made the choice to become Muslims. Therefore, we are Christians, but we are not
apostates because we weren't Muslims to begin with.'" 

They were arrested March 5, 2009, on charges of anti-state
activity and "taking part in illegal gatherings" because of their participation
in house church activities. The
anti-state charges were later dropped.

They're still facing propagation of the Christian faith and
apostasy charges, so keep praying. It's
been a test of their endurance.   

According to Elam Ministries, although they have been receiving
medical treatment for the past five months, they remain weak and suffer from
various illnesses. The two had spent
259 days incarcerated in Evin Prison where they were reportedly subjected to
psychological abuse, and their medical requests were ignored.

Despite the uncertainties, their testimony encourages other
believers. Nettleton says, "They
are determined to continue to be a witness for Christ, to continue to stand
strong in their faith. We can pray that they'll be encouraged in that, that
they will have a sense of peace, a sense of God's presence, and that God will
provide the words for them to say when the time comes."

Pray that the peace of God will protect Maryam and Marzieh's
hearts and minds and keep them safe. Pray that they will completely recover
from their illnesses and be strong — physically, mentally and spiritually.
Pray that all charges will be dropped and they will be set free.

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