Relaymedia

Young Iranian Christians Held in Notorious Prison Without Charge

( [email protected] ) Apr 02, 2009 01:02 PM EDT

Two young Iranian Christian women have been held for weeks now in the notorious Elvin Prison without charge.

Roommates Marzieh Amirizadeh Esmaeilabad, 30, and Maryam Rustampoor, 27, were arrested March 5 by Iranian security forces who accused them of being “anti-government activists,” reported Farsi Christian News Network (FCNN), which recently received news about their detainment.

All their personal belongings were confiscated during the arrest, and they were hand-cuffed and taken first to a police station in Gysha, west of Tehran for interrogation. They were later taken to Vozara Detention Center, then to a National Security Section of the Revolutionary Court.

After several sessions of interrogation, they appeared in the Revolutionary Court on March 18, after which they were sent to Elvin Prison where they are being held without charge.

According to reports received by FCNN, the two young women are innocent and their only “crime” is being practicing Christians. The incident highlights the Iranian government’s growing hostility towards followers of Jesus Christ.

Last year, there were more than 50 known cases of arrests and imprisonment of Christians in Iran. There were also some known cases of torture.

Each day, the women are allowed only a one-minute phone call to their immediate families.

During their last call on March 28, Esmaeilabad said she is suffering from an infection and high fever, according to FCNN's March 29 report.

She also said, "I am dying."

Both women are sick and need urgent medical attention, according to reports.

The Iranian court has ruled that the women could be freed on a bail of $400,000, but the “excessive” bail is unrealistic and is designed to make the release impossible, noted that Christian news network.

Moreover, the women’s families have been repeatedly told the judge is not available to discuss their case.

“Iranian Christian leaders from around the world are calling for the immediate and unconditional release of Marzieh and Maryam,” FCNN stated. “We ask world governments to put pressure on Iran to ensure freedom of religion.”

Prayers are also being requested for the two young Christian women’s safe release.