Christian women refused to recant faith

11 Aug 2009

Two female Christian converts from Islam are refusing to recant their faith after being ordered to do so at Tehran's revolutionary court on Sunday 9 August.

Maryam Rostampour, 27, and Marzieh Amirizadeh, 30, are said to have been returned to Evin prison, where they have been held since 5 March without charge.

The women were arrested by Iranian security officers on 5 March after their apartment was searched and their Bibles confiscated, amongst other items. Neither women have committed a crime as defined under Iranian or international law.

No verdict was given at the end of last week's hearing according to Elam Ministries, although various reports indicate that the women have been threatened with apostasy charges.

Apostates in Iran, (muslims who convert to another religion) often face arbitrary arrest, indefinite detention and a host of other serious human rights abuses.

A member of the Iranian church in London told Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW): "These are two adults who have decided to follow Jesus Christ and they have been treated very cruelly. It is completely unjustifiable. The world should demand that Maryam and Marzieh should be free to follow the faith of the historic Christian Church, the faith of the apostles and the church fathers.

CSW's Advocacy Director Tina Lambert said: "CSW is urgently calling on the international community to demand the immediate release of Maryam and Marzieh. These innocent women have been unjustly kept in solitary confinement and subjected to harsh interrogation despite suffering from ill health. They are held solely on the basis of exercising their most basic right, freedom of thought, conscience and belief. Our concerns for them are heightened by the current volatility in Iran, evidenced by scores of unlawful detentions and gross human rights abuses".

Notes to Editors:

To see the report from Elam Ministries please click here.

For CSW's press releases, please click here or download a copy of CSW's report on apostasy.

For a photograph of Maryam Rostampour and Marzieh Amirizadeh, please contact CSW's press office.

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