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Iran: Two Women Imprisoned on Charges of Apostasy Freed

(June 11, 2010) It was reported on May 22, 2010, that two Iranian women, 31-year-old Marziah Amiri and 28-year-old Maryam Rustam-poor, who had spent 14 months in Evin prison on charges of apostasy and revolt against national security, were found not guilty and have now left Iran. (Two Women Imprisoned on Charges of Apostasy Left Iran [in Persian], IRAN TIMES INTERNATIONAL, May 22, 2010, at 4 & 11; for background, see Gholam Vafai, Iran: Women Free on Bail After National Security Charges Dropped, GLOBAL LEGAL MONITOR, Jan. 20, 2010, available at //

In the course of the trial of the women held last year, the judge of the Revolutionary Court dropped the charge of revolt against national security, found them innocent of that charge, and released them from prison temporarily on bond, under certain conditions. One of the conditions was their return to Islam, but the charge of apostasy (renouncing their Islamic religion and adhering to Christianity) remained on file. The Revolutionary Court also warned them that they must discontinue proselytizing Christianity. (IRAN TIMES INTERNATIONAL, supra.)

The Open Doors Institute, which is active in California proselytizing Christianity, was very involved in the case and intervened on the women's behalf, appealing to Iranian authorities for their release all through the trial. According to an Open Doors spokesman, the Iranian women were under pressure during their trial and in prison to re-convert to Islam, but they refused to do so. (Id.)