I wonder what it was that made Maryam Naghash-Zargaran decide to return to Iran knowing that she would certainly end up in an Iranian prison cell. I wonder if this dear sister in Christ might have read verse 3 in Hebrews 13 and decided that this was the best way for her to identify, and stand together with her pastor and other Iranian Christians imprisoned for their faith.
‘Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering’
On his Facebook page recently, Iranian pastor, Saeed Abedini, who was freed from prison earlier this year, has pleaded for the release of Maryam Naghash-Zargaran, known as Nasim.
‘She was the first underground female leader and one of five leaders who helped us start churches before I became a pastor.’
He goes on:
‘Every time I got arrested, some leaders became afraid to work close to me and some left. But Nasim was the only one who stayed beside us until the end when I was put in Evin prison. This woman never gave up or chose fear and doubt. She always stayed beside us in Saeed Ministries until prison broke apart our ministry.’
Maryam was sentenced to four years of prison for assisting Abedini.
Then she escaped Iran and went to Turkey. But eventually she left Turkey by her own choice and decided to return to Iran and finish her prison sentence.
Pastor Abedini revealed that Nasim sent him a letter in prison that said:
‘I couldn’t live in freedom knowing my Pastor, who first shared the Gospel with my family and me, was still suffering in prison. So I came back to prison by my own choice to stand with you and the Lord while you are in chains.’
‘And now I am FREE and this Christian sister is still in chains so this makes my freedom hard to enjoy.’
The Christian news agency Mohabat reported last October that Nasim had been labelled a ‘special prisoner’ and thus was subject to harassment. She was denied the right to have her brother and sister visit her for months and was given false promises about being given temporary leave permits. She was even denied the right to medical leave until recently.
Let us remember our sister in our prayers.
You can send a card of encouragement to Maryam at:
Islamic Republic of Iran.
NB: When writing, please do not mention Release International, advance your political opinions or include anything which could be insulting to the authorities.
To find out more about her situation please click here