By Worthy News Staff
TEHRAN/LONDON (Worthy News)– Women dressed in white have gathered outside the Iranian embassy in London as part of a prayer vigil to highlight the plight of two female Christian converts from Islam who have been held at Evin Prison in Teheran "without charge"for the last six months, organizers said.
Maryam Rostampour, 27, and Marzieh Amirizadeh, 30, were detained by Iranian security officers March 5 after their apartment had been searched and their Bibles and other items were confiscated, several Iranian Christians said.
"Neither woman has committed a crime under Iranian or international law," said advocacy group Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), which supported Saturday's demonstration.
At a hearing at Tehran’s Revolutionary Court on August 9, both women refused to recant their faith after being ordered to do so, trial observers said. They were subsequently returned to their cells, where Christians said, their health is rapidly deteriorating due to overcrowded conditions and limited facilities.
CONVERTS FACE DIFFICULTIES
In Iran, Muslims who convert to another religion, often face arbitrary arrest, indefinite detention and other human rights abuses, rights groups say.
"We wholeheartedly stand in solidarity with Maryam and Marzieh, who are being held solely on the basis of exercising their most basic right: freedom of thought, conscience and belief," added CSW Chief Executive Mervyn Thomas in a statement monitored by Worthy News Sunday, September 13.
Thomas said that “scores of illegal detentions of Christian converts in Iran” have been reported this year. “We strongly urge the Iranian Government to release these innocent women immediately”.
There was no immediate comment from Iranian officials. (With reporting by Worthy News' Stefan J. Bos).