Victory Report – Maryam and Marzieh Freed
Dear Friends and Partners,
Two Iranian women, Maryam and Marzieh, were freed without bail last week from the Iranian prison where they have been held for almost 9 months. You may recall our alert dated September 20, 2009 in which we told you of the amazing courage and fortitude exhibited by these two young converts from Islam during a court hearing in August. When the prosecutor attempted to pressure them into renouncing their Christian faith, they refused steadfastly and boldly testified about their relationship with God.
After the hearing Maryam and Marzieh were sent back to Evin prison, an Iranian prison notorious for its abuses, and told to return when they were ready to comply with the court’s demands to renounce their faith. The women suffered numerous health problems without adequate medical treatment and reportedly lost a lot of weight while in prison, but they are grateful to be free.In October, the women were acquitted of the charge of “anti-state activities” but charges of “taking part in illegal gatherings” and apostasy remain outstanding.
While the government recently decided not to pass a threatened apostasy law, torture and extrajudicial killings are common in Iran. Maryam and Marzieh are expected to face further court hearings and, if found guilty, could still face abusive punishments or death. They are also expected to be subject to heavy surveillance which will greatly restrict their freedoms.Maryam and Marzieh are just two of many Christians in Iran who are either in prison or out on bail facing similar charges. Other minorities, such as the Bahá’í’s, also face varying degrees of persecution. In the midst of growing repression, Maryam and Marzieh and the entire Christian community as well as other minority communities in Iran need our continued prayers and support.
• for Maryam and Marzieh’s continued recovery from their ordeal and their safety as well as for victory in the outstanding charges against them. Pray that they would be able to use their experiences to encourage other Christians and to glorify God;
• for the numerous others in prison for their faith in Iran, that they would be protected from harm and be released and able to seek and worship God freely;
• that all charges and laws criminalizing religious beliefs and activity would be dropped or repealed without delay and that Iranian authorities would stop targeting minority religious communities and focus on governing their people with fairness and justice for the benefit of the entire country; and,
• for the Iranian people, that they would be able to live and worship freely and that they would find true peace and freedom in the Prince of Peace.
The Bible teaches that faith without action is dead, so please take action urgently and write (contact details are included below):
• the representative of Iran in your country, demanding that Iranian authorities respect international human rights standards with respect to religious freedom and their own constitution and that they drop the charges against Maryam and Marzieh as well as all others who are facing charges based on their religious beliefs or activity; assure them that an Iran where all Iranians, regardless of their beliefs, would be able to live, work, and worship in freedom will be a strong and prosperous Iran; and,
• to the Minister for Foreign Affairs or Secretary of State in your country, urging them to continue using every means at their disposal to make treatment of religious minorities in Iran a primary focus of foreign policy in the region.
Please remember to send us a copy of your correspondence at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Remember, that the persecuted Christians are dying every day, but they are still smiling. They are in a very deep dark night, but they have the candle of the Lord. The enemy can have a very strong weapon and a very strong army, but we have the Lord Almighty.
“They can kill the dreamer, but they cannot kill the dream” in the Lord’s name.
Be with God and may God be with you.
Rev. Majed El Shafie
President and Founder
One Free World International
El Shafie Ministries
Source: Compass Direct
Mr. Bahram Ghasemi, Chargé d’Affaires, a.i.
Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran
245 Metcalfe St.
Tel.: (613) 235-4726; Fax: (613) 232-5712
The Honourable Lawrence Cannon
Minister for Foreign Affairs
Foreign Affairs Canada
125 Sussex Drive
Ottawa, ON K1A 0G2
Tel.: (613) 992-5516; Fax: (613) 992-6802
In the United States:
Interests Section of the Islamic Republic of Iran
Embassy of Pakistan
2209 Wisconsin Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20007
Tel.: (202) 965-4990; Fax: (202) 965-1073
Secretary Hillary Clinton
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20520
Tel.: (202) 647-4000 (Main switchboard)