Freed Female Converts to Face Iranian Judge Again

The two Iranian female converts to Christianity, who were released in November, will again appear before a judge next Tuesday, an Iran-focused Christian ministry reported.

Maryam Rostampour, 27, and Marzieh Amirizadeh, 30, were summoned for a court hearing on April 13.

According to Elam Ministries, which has been following their case from the beginning, the women are still in frail physical condition from their time in prison. The two had spent 259 days in Iran's notorious Evin Prison where they were reportedly subjected to psychological abuse and their medical requests were ignored.

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Since their conditional release on Nov. 18, the women have been recuperating and receiving medical treatments. Elam reported on Thursday that they "remain unwell, weak and suffering from various illnesses."

Despite their sufferings, Rostampour and Amirizadeh are "determined to be faithful to the Lord and speak the truth in court whatever the consequence of personal cost," the ministry said.

The two young females were arrested March 5, 2009, on charges of anti-state activity and "taking part in illegal gatherings" because of their participation in house church activities. Reports from sources inside Iran said the women were pressured by the Iranian judge and by authorities inside the prison to denounce their Christian faith and return to Islam.

Rostampour and Amirizadeh refused to deny Jesus Christ as their savior, which led to their prolonged prison sentence.

During an Aug. 9 court hearing, the women stated in front of the judge, "We love Jesus," "Yes, we are Christians," and "We will not deny our faith." In October, a third charge of apostasy was added to their case.

"Maryam and Marzieh have greatly inspired us all," said Sam Yeghnazar, director of Elam Ministries, in an earlier statement. "Their love for the Lord Jesus and their faithfulness to God has been an amazing testimony."

Though the two female converts were released last fall, they were released conditionally and did not receive complete freedom. They've been living on edge not knowing when they will be summoned to court and what authorities will do to them.

Christians are urged to pray for the safety, faith and freedom of Rostampour and Amirizadeh.

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