Middle East Concern has just released an important update on Maryam Rustampoor and Marzieh Amirizadeh.
There has been a significant development in the case of Maryam and Marzieh who were arrested in Tehran on 5th March and have been detained since then. Recall that they appeared before the Revolutionary Court on 10th August and were ordered to recant their faith in Christ. Both declared that they would not deny their faith.
On Wednesday 7th October they were unexpectedly taken back to the Revolutionary Court, where a different judge was presiding. Three charges were brought against them, relating to (a) anti-state activity, (b) propagation of Christianity, and (c) apostasy, i.e. leaving Islam. The judge acquitted them of the charge of anti-state activity. They and their lawyer are delighted about this, particularly as such acquittals are rare in Iran. Because this charge has been dropped, their case will now be transferred to a general court where the other charges will be considered.
Maryam and Marzieh are now back in prison, awaiting their next hearing. Both have suffered poor health and have been denied satisfactory medical treatment during their imprisonment. Recently the prison authorities did allow Maryam some treatment for severe food poisoning.
Iranian Christians supporting Maryam and Marzieh thank us for our ongoing prayer. They give praise to God for preserving and sustaining them in prison and for giving them the courage to stand firm in their faith during the court hearings. They request our continued prayers that:
a. Maryam and Marzieh will continue to know the Lord's presence and comfort each day
b. They will stand firm in their faith as they face continuing pressure to recant
c. They will be the presence of Jesus to those around them in Evin jail, near Tehran
d. The two remaining charges will be dropped
e. They will be released soon
f. All officials involved will act mercifully, justly and compassionately, and will learn about and be drawn to Jesus' love for them
g. The Iranian government will stop automatically regarding Christians as being anti-government and therefore a threat
We are thankful that the charge of anti-state activities has been dropped. This rarely takes place and is a great relief for the two women. Their lawyer was very pleased. As noted, their case will now be transferred from the revolutionary court to the general court that will now have to consider the other two charges. We invite you to also post a pray on their behalf on our Persecuted Church Prayer Wall as a testimony to your remembering them during this time.