AND MARZIEH: “We will not deny our faith” In a dramatic session before the
revolutionary court today in Tehran,
Maryam Rustampoor (27) and Marzieh Amirizadeh (30) were told to recant their
faith in Christ. Though great pressure was put on them, both women declared
that they would not deny their faith. Maryam and Marzieh were originally
arrested on March 5, 2009
and have suffered greatly while in prison, suffering ill health, solitary
confinement and interrogations for many hours while blindfolded.
On Saturday August 8, Maryam and Marzieh were summoned to appear in court on
Sunday August 9 in order to hear a verdict on their case. The chief
interrogator had recommended a verdict of ‘apostasy.’ However, when they
arrived, no verdict was actually given. Instead, the court session focussed
on the deputy prosecutor, Mr Haddad, questioning Maryam and Marzieh about
their faith and telling them that they had to recant in both verbal and
written form. This made it clear that in the eyes of the court, Maryam and
Marzieh’s only crime is that they have converted to Christianity.
Mr. Haddad, asked the two women if they were Christians. “We love Jesus,”
they replied. He repeated his question and they said, “Yes, we are
Mr. Haddad then said, “You were Muslims and now you have become Christians.”
“We were born in Muslim families, but we were not Muslims,” was their reply.
Mr. Haddad’s questioning continued and he asked them if they regretted
becoming Christians, to which they replied, “We have no regrets.”
Then he stated emphatically, “You should renounce your faith verbally and in
written form.” They stood firm and replied, “We will not deny our faith.”
During one tense moment in the questioning, Maryam and Marzieh made reference
to their belief that God had convicted them through the Holy Spirit. Mr.
Haddad told them, “It is impossible for God to speak with humans.”
Marzieh asked him in return, “Are you questioning whether God is Almighty?”
Mr. Haddad then replied, “You are not worthy for God to speak to you.”
Marzieh said, “It is God, and not you, who determines if I am worthy.”
Mr. Haddad told the women to return to prison and think about the options
they were given and come back to him when they are ready (to comply). Maryam
and Marzieh said, “We have already done our thinking.”
At the end of the session, Mr. Haddad told them that a judge will give them
his verdict, though it is not clear who will be the judge in their case now.
He also allowed Maryam and Marzieh to have a lawyer represent them in the
case for the first time since their arrest.
Both women are back in Evin prison tonight. During their five-month ordeal,
both have been unwell and have lost much weight. Marzieh is in pain due to an
on-going problem with her spine, as well as an infected tooth and intense
headaches. She desperately needs medical attention. Two months ago the prison
officials told her the prison had proper medical equipment and that they will
attend to her, but so far no proper treatment has been given.
Despite the concentrated effort of officials to pressure them into recanting
their faith, Maryam and Marzieh love Jesus and they are determined to stand
firm to the very end no matter whatever happens. They have demonstrated their
love for Jesus and would offer their lives for Him if they were called to do
so. After today’s court session they said, “If we come out of prison we want
to do so with honor.”
Maryam and Marzieh’s case is a clear and harsh violation of human rights and
religious liberty by Iran’s
authorities. They deserve the support of all those who respect human rights
and to be released without charges so they can pursue a life of freedom.
POSTED: August 9, 2009
Even though the mandatory death
sentence for apostasy did not pass the Iranian Parliament, there is still a
very real danger they will be convicted of apostasy and given the death
sentence. However, Islamic law forbids the execution of virgins, which both
these young women are. To get around that, unmarried female convicts are
forcefully "wed" the night before their execution, gang raped all
night, and then executed the following morning. Please pray earnestly these
young women will be delivered from such a fate.