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Iran: Women Free on Bail After National Security Charges Dropped

(Jan. 20, 2010) Two women were arrested in Tehran, Iran, on March 5, 2009, on charges of acting against the national security of the country. Marziah Amirizadeh, who was 30 years old, and Maryan Rostam Poor, 27, were taken to the high security prison known as Evin. They had converted from Islam to Christianity, but no charge based on that action could be brought, as it is not listed as a crime under the Islamic Criminal Law of Iran.

Following their arrest, a number of Christian organizations, including International Christian Concern and Open Doors USA, appealed to the Iranian authorities for their release. The women were held in solitary confinement for 259 days and were allowed to have telephone communications only with their close relatives. It was in March 2009 that Marziah Amirizadeh informed her relatives that her physical condition was dangerous and that she was suffering from a chronic fever. The Iranian judicial authorities, under heavy pressure from the Christian organizations, dropped the initial charge of acting against the national security and agreed to release the women from prison, if they deposited the amount of $400,000 in bail pending their later trial; charges for that trial were not published. (Two Women Imprisoned for Apostasy now Freed [in Persian], International Iran Times, Nov. 27, 2009, at 4.)