On March 5, Marzieh Amirizadeh Esmaeilabad and Maryam Rustampoor were arrested by Iranian security forces and labeled "anti-government activists," according to Farsi Christian News Network (FCNN).
Thirty year-old Marzieh and 27-year-old Maryam are being held at Evin Prison, which is notorious for treating women badly. "Both women are allowed just a one-minute telephone call everyday to their immediate families. Both are unwell and in need of urgent medical attention," FCNN reported. During their last call on March 28, Mazieh said that she was suffering from an infection and high fever. She said, "I am dying."
Marzieh and Maryam's apartment was searched and their belongings were confiscated. "Their only crime is that they are committed Christians who follow the teachings of Jesus," FCNN added. They are being unfairly labeled as 'anti government activists' because of the hostility of the government towards practicing Christians."
The women have reportedly been interrogated numerous times and were held in three different police detention centers before being sent to Evin Prison. FCNN reported an exorbitant bail amount of US$ 400,000 has been set even though Marzieh and Maryam's families have been told on numerous occasions that a judge is not available to discuss the case.
Marzieh and Maryam's arrest is the latest incident highlighting increased government intimidation of Christians in Iran. Believers are subjected to surveillance, arrests, imprisonment, and sometimes torture.
Meanwhile on Aug. 8, Marzieh and Maryam were summoned to an Iranian court and ordered to deny their faith verbally and in a written statement. Praise God, they stood firm and replied, We love Jesus. We will not deny our faith. They have been sent back to Evin prison.
On November 18, 2009, Maryam and Marzieh were released without bail, but charges against them have not been formally dropped, and they may still face a court hearing in the future.