According to Article 18, in addition to her surprise bail, her trial date has been postponed because coronavirus is currently tearing through Iran, with more than 2,300 infections and 77 deaths officially reported. The BBC reports that Gholamhossein Esmaili, Iran’s judiciary spokesman, said that more than 54,000 prison inmates have been let out of prison in order to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
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In her Twitter post, Mary indicated she has no information about the new date for her trial. She had been in Iran’s notorious women’s prison, Varamin (the women’s section of Qarchak prison). Mary, who is only 21, was arrested on January 12 in Tehran during a protest of the civilian plane that was shot down by the Iranian military. For several weeks her whereabouts were unknown, causing friends and family much anxiety.
Mary was badly treated upon arrest and was handcuffed back to back with another woman while being taken to a detention center. She was brutally beaten and was forced to sit on the ground in the yard in front of the toilets. During the first 24 hours following her arrest she was denied food.
Mary was later transferred to Branch 6 of the prosecutor’s office in Evin Prison, Tehran, and charged with “disrupting public order by participating in an illegal gathering.”
Mary was previously arrested at a house church in November 2017 and imprisoned in Evin Prison for six months, having been convicted of “membership in evangelical groups,” “engaging in Christian activities,” and “acting against national security through propagating against the regime.”
Since her initial imprisonment, Mary has been harassed and denied a university education. She has been very open about her Christian faith and has been campaigning for the legal rights of Christian converts in Iran and the freedom to attend a Christian place of worship.
Iranian Christians are thankful that Mary has been released on bail and request prayer that:
- Mary will be encouraged and strengthened and recover from recent beatings and other emotional and physical distress
- When her hearing is rescheduled, that it will be conducted impartially and that Mary will be unconditionally released
- God will convict those who abused Mary and others arrested and bring them to a place of confession and repentance
- That God will protect and help the oppressed Chrisitan community as Iran grapples with the health crisis caused by coronavirus
Additional sources: The Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) and Middle East Concern