WASHINGTON, D.C. (April 2, 2009) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that on March 5, 2009 Iranian security forces detained two Christian women for practicing Christianity. Iranian officials allege that Marzieh Amairizadeh Esmaeilabad and Maryam Rustampoor are 'anti-government activists.
According to the Farsi Christian News Network (FCNN), Iranian security officials searched the apartment shared by the two women and confiscated their personal belongings before they hand-cuffed and took the Christians to Police and Security Station 137 in Gaysha, west of Tehran. After appearing before the Revolutionary Court on March 18, the women were sent to the notorious Evin prison. Iranian officials told the Christian women to post bail at a staggering amount of $400,000 in order to be released from the prison.
"Both women are allowed just a one minute telephone call every day to their immediate families. Both are unwell and in need of urgent medical attention. During their last call on March 28 Marzieh said that she was suffering from an infection and high fever. She said ‘I am dying’," reported FCNN.
Iranian officials have dramatically increased their persecution of Christians following the conversion of a large number of Muslims to Christianity. Last year alone, 50 Christians were arrested for practicing their faith, some of whom were tortured. There have also been reports that Christians died due to the torture they were forced to endure.
ICC’s Regional Manager for Africa, Jonathan Racho, stated that, "Iran’s persecution of Christian minorities violates the fundamental freedom of its citizens to worship freely. The international community has obligations to speak up for the rights of the persecuted Iranian Christians. We call upon Iranian officials to stop mistreating Marzieh and Maryam and release them from prison."
Please pray for God to give strength and comfort to the detained Christian sisters. Also pray for their safe release.