Iran Makes Excuses to Keep Two Christian Women in Jail

The family members of two young Iranian women who recently converted to Christianity have been given a series of conflicting excuses by authorities who continue to detain them in the notorious Elvin prison without charge.

Family and friends of Marzieh Amirizadeh, 30, and Maryam Rustampoor, 27, have approached the judiciary, security, and prison officials to request the freedom of the two young women to no avail, according to a report by Farsi Christian News Network on Saturday.

Amirizadeh's sister and a group of defense lawyer had approached government officials to post the $400,000 bail that the court had demanded earlier. But officials rejected the money stating that the charges against the defendant had not been determined and investigation was still underway.

The official then told the sister that the criminal file for Amirizadeh was still at the Islamic Revolutionary Court and has not been received by the prison officials so bail request is meaningless.

But when the families of the accused contacted the office of the minister of Justice, they were told that new information has been received and the bail amount of $400,000 would most likely be raised or completely changed.

Amirizadeh and Rustampoor were arrested March 5 by Iranian security forces who accused them of being "anti-government activists." Recently, the two young women were transferred to the Islamic Revolutionary Court's second divisional detention center, where they have received excessive interrogation and psychological pressure such as prolonged sleep deprivation in order to get them to confess, according to FCNN.

Their family members have been denied visitation during the more than 30 days the women have been in prison.

Sources say the only reason these women are detained is because they are believers in Jesus Christ.

The two Christian women are being held in the same prison as American journalist Roxana Saberi, who is on trial as an alleged spy for the United States.

The U.S. State Department has denounced the charge as "baseless," according to the New York Times. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said the United States is "deeply concerned" about the espionage charges against Saberi and has asked Iranian diplomats for help in her release.

Currently, the United States has no diplomatic ties with Iran, although both President Obama and the Iranian president have hinted at the possibility of starting talks again.

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