In 2009, two women were arrested in Iran on charges of apostasy, anti-government activity, and blasphemy, for which they were sentenced to execution by hanging. Imprisoned in the notoriously brutal Evin prison, they were repeatedly threatened with death and torture. Nine months later, following an international outcry, Maryam Rostampour and Marziyeh Amirizadeh were finally released and cleared of all charges. After their release, they immigrated to the United States and now live in the state of Georgia. On April 9, 2013, the Center for Religious Freedom hosted a discussion with these two women, the authors of Captive in Iran.
Iran’s Islamic laws forbid sharing Christian beliefs, and Maryam and Marziyeh knew they were putting their lives on the line by becoming Christian missionaries. Born into Muslim families, they had both converted to Christianity and went to Turkey to study Christian theology, where they met. After returning to Iran, they joined forces and began covertly handing out Farsi copies of the New Testament to 20,000 of their countrymen. From their apartment, they led two secret house churches, one for young people and one for prostitutes to worship. They continued evangelizing as detainees inside Evin prison.
Captive in Iran is a memoir of their experience in Iran’s underground Christian movement.