An underground Christian church leader in Iran has gone on a hunger strike in Evin prison, claiming the critical medical attention she needs is being withheld. Maryam (Nasim) Naghash Zargaran had been loyal to an Iranian-American pastor, Saeed Abedini, who was also imprisoned for some time at Evin, during a 3.5-year sentence that ended in 2016, Mohabat News reports. Abedini is currently living in Idaho. “Nasim (Zargaran) was the first girl to become a Christian after my sisters, Zeebandeh Abedini and Elnaz Abedini,” he wrote on Facebook after his release. “She was the first underground female leader and one of the five leaders that helped us start churches before I became a pastor.”
Zargaran, 36, was arrested in 2013 for “actions against national security” — a charge often applied to religious or political prisoners of conscience in Iran, The Christian Post reports. She is serving a four-year sentence, having been refused a retrial.
“She is suffering from serious health issues,” a family member told The Christian Post, explaining she had been denied temporary release to visit outside facilities for a heart condition. “Before going on hunger strike she had lost 25 kilograms [55 pounds] and her health issues had intensified. Authorities do not show the slightest concern over Maryam’s health. In addition, she is suffering from depression and takes depression medications for it.”
Read the full story at The Christian Post.