Christian prisoner Maryam Naghash Zargaran taken to hospital

Christian prisoner Maryam Naghash Zargaran taken to hospital

Maryam Naghash Zargaran has been transferred to Tehran’s Modarres Hospital after suffering an apparent heart attack.

The Christian convert, who is serving a four-year sentence in Evin Prison, has a long-term heart condition and has previously undergone heart surgery.

Maryam, who is better known as Nasim, has been in prison since 15 July.

She was first arrested in January and summoned to the Ministry of the Interior, where she was held for three days. 

Nasim was then taken to Evin Prison after preliminary interrogations, and her case was referred to the Islamic Revolutionary Court.

On 9 March, she was sentenced to four years in prison after being convicted in Branch 28 of the Islamic Revolutionary Court of “propaganda against the Islamic regime and collusion intended to harm national security”. 

The judges in her case were Mohammad Moghiseh, the head of Branch 28 of the Islamic Revolutionary Court, Judge Pir Abbasi and Judge Salavati – all of whom are known for their violations of human rights. 

Judge Moghiseh in particular is known for having imposed heavy sentences on social activists after the 2009 presidential election.

The ruling did not change in the appeal court, and Nasim was taken to Evin Prison to begin her sentence on 24 July 2013.

In the last few years, Iran’s judiciary and security services have begun to invoke “national security” in charges against Christians – particularly the converts who attend underground “house churches”.

The case against Nasim centred on:

* Her change of religion from Islam to Protestant Christianity

* Her active membership in ‘house churches’

* Setting up churches to attract young people to Christianity

* Communicating with Christian organisations abroad to promote Christianity

* Travel to Turkey to attend Christian gatherings

The verdict stated that she had acted “in line with the United Kingdom and Israel’s anti-security agenda to spread Christianity in Iran in order to pervert Iranian society away from Islam”. 

She was convicted under articles 610 and 46 of the Islamic Penal Code.

Nasim’s case has been publicised around the world, with various institutions and churches expressing concern for her and calling for her release.