Iranian Judge Charges Converts with Apostasy and Propagation of Christian Faith
Washington, D.C: October 9, 2009. International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that on October 7 an Iranian judge charged Maryam and Marzieh with ‘crimes’ of apostasy and propagation of the Christian faith. They could face life imprisonment if
They could face life imprisonment if convicted of apostasy.
Elam ministries told ICC that Maryam and Marzieh were unexpectedly taken to appear before the court yesterday morning.
In a positive development, their case has now been transferred from the revolutionary court to the regular courts after the judge dropped the earlier charge of anti-state activities. Maryam, Marzieh and their lawyer are pleased with this development.
Maryam and Marzieh were detained on March 5, 2009. The Iranian officials accused them of ‘anti-state activities’ following their conversion from Islam to Christianity. During their appearance before the revolutionary court on August 9, they told the court that they would not recant their faith in Christ. For the report on their court appearance, see: http://www.persecution.org/suffering/pressdetail.php?presscode=325
Iranian officials sent Maryam and Marzieh to the infamous Evin prison where they have endured mistreatment, including solitary confinement and deprivation of medical attention. Both of them are in poor health. On October 4, Maryam suffered severe food poisoning and was given medical attention after much insistence.
In an interview with the Voice of America Persian News Network, Maryam and Marzieh’s lawyer said, “My clients are not prepared to lie about their faith under any condition.”
ICC’s Regional Manager for Africa and the Middle East, Jonathan Racho, said, “We welcome the move by the Iranian court to drop the charges of anti-state activities against Maryam and Marzieh. We urge Iranian officials to drop charges of apostasy and propagation of Christianity, as well. As party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Iran has an obligation to respect the right of Maryam and Marzieh to follow the religion of their choice.”