A Christian woman who had been on a hunger strike to protest denial of medical treatment received permission to go to a hospital on June 6, but she was ordered to return too soon, sources said.
Maryam Naghash Zargaran, 36, returned to Evin Prison on June 27, after being on a medical furlough for 21 days. A court on June 19 issued an order for Zargaran to return to prison, but Zargaran and her family essentially refused to obey the order because her health had not improved.
Her family applied to the prosecutor’s office for an extension to the medical furlough, but the prosecutor denied the request and eventually threatened to seize the $100,000 surety bond the family submitted for Zargaran’s release unless she returned. The family was willing to forfeit the money to ensure Zargaran’s recovery, according to Rob Duncan, MEC’s regional manager for Iran, but over the weekend of June 25-26, her condition dramatically improved and she decided to return to prison.
‘Maryam herself decided for the sake of her family that she would go back,’ Duncan said. ‘She was going against her family’s wishes and her own wishes. She decided it was the right course of action for her family.’
By all accounts from human rights activists in Iran, Zargaran entered Evin Prison smiling. Duncan said that walking into the prison willingly could not have been easy for Zargaran, and he called her attitude toward being imprisoned “very brave.”
Zargaran suffers from a serious congenital heart condition known as an atrial septal defect, commonly referred to as “a hole in the heart,” and also has severe headaches accompanied by ear pain, tremors, chronic joint and spine pain and numbness in her hands and legs. On May 27, she began a hunger strike to protest the prosecutor’s repeated refusal to allow her to leave the prison temporarily and go to a hospital for treatment that the prison wouldn’t or couldn’t provide.
Iranian officials arrested Zargaran in January 2013 for her activities in the Iranian house-church movement and her association with Saeed Abedini, a U.S.-Iranian Christian pastor imprisoned on fabricated charges related to his house-church work. Zargaran was found guilty of “threatening national security” and sentenced to four years in prison, which she began serving on July 13, 2013. An appeal for retrial was denied.
Abedini was found guilty of the same charge and sentenced to eight years in prison but was released in January after serving more than three years of his sentence as part of negotiations over a nuclear non-proliferation agreement with the United States and other aligned nations.
Source: Morning Star News
- That Maryam will receive the corrrect medical treatment and make a full recovery. •
- That the Lord will sustain Maryam and her family and friends during this critical time.
- That her case will be reviewed and that she will be released from prison, healed and restored
You may also send cards of encouragement addressed to:
C/O Evin Prison,
Islamic Republic of Iran.