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Maryam Jalili

Iranian Christians Maryam Jalili and Mitra Rahmati were released from Evin Prison on September 18th, six weeks before their two-and-half-year sentences were due to be completed. The women were among eleven prisoners of conscience selected for release.

Maryam and Mitra, both converts from Islam, were arrested on Christmas Eve in 2009, along with 13 other believers, after a raid by government officials on a house church in Pakdasht (southeast of Tehran). While most of the other church members were released shortly after being arrested, the two women were detained until March 17th, 2010. After their initial release, they were re-arrested in April of 2011 and imprisoned a second time for being members of an "illegal group." More stories highlighting the heroic faith of Iranian Christians can be found
at the Iran Country Report.

During Iran's 2013 presidential campaign, newly elected President Rouhani, viewed as a moderate and pragmatist, promised to uphold the rights of women and religious minorities and permit the release of political prisoners. He also pledged to set up a "civil rights charter" which would ensure equality without discrimination based on race, religion or gender.

While we rejoice with Maryam and Mitra, this update serves as a reminder for us to continue interceding on behalf of fellow Christians in Iran who are still facing tremendous challenges. Pray that the new president will follow through on his promises, bringing about greatly needed change in the way the Iranian government treats those who have been unjustly detained. Please lift up the following incarcerated believers who are among those still awaiting release: Farshid Fathi, Benham Irani, Saeed Abedini and Shahin Lahooti. May the Lord minister ongoing protection, strength and encouragement to them and their families, bringing about ultimate freedom from imprisonment and joyful reconciliation with loved ones.