Apostasy charges have been dropped against two Iranian converts to Christianity who spent more than 250 days in jail for their faith. The two women were permitted to leave Iran on Saturday, May 22, according to Elam Ministries, a U.K.-based organization working to strengthen the Iranian church.
“We have seen the Lord do miracles over and over again,” Marzieh Amirizadeh, 31, said, according to an Elam Ministries News release. “He kept us and gave us favour in prison, and sustained us during a very difficult period of waiting for our final trial” after a 14-month ordeal.
“We are most grateful to everyone who prayed for us,” Amirizadeh said. “I have no doubt that God heard the prayers of His people.”
“I believe our arrest, imprisonment and subsequent release were in the timing and plan of God,” said Maryam Rostampour, 28, according to the News release, “and it was all for His glory. But the prayers of people encouraged and sustained us throughout this ordeal.”
Amirizadeh and Rostampour, who faced apostasy charges and possible death sentences for converting to Christianity and for reportedly engaging in evangelistic activities and Bible distribution, were arrested in March 2009 and held in Tehran’s notorious Evin Prison until Nov. 18 when they were given a conditional release.
The apostasy charges, however, were not dismissed. The Elam Ministries News release noted that the women “have had a very trying six months waiting for their case to be heard in an Islamic court where they could have been sentenced to prison again.”
The women, prior to their May 22 departure from Iran, were “warned that any future Christian activity in Iran will be seriously dealt with,” the News release stated.
Elam Ministries did not specify to which country Amirizadeh and Rostampour traveled.
The News release recapped the Iranian duo’s ordeal: “Both young women have shown exceptional courage, daring to tell an Islamic judge that they would never deny their faith in Christ