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Released Iranian Christian convert given travel ban

by Eno Adeogun

Maryam Naghash Zargaran was released from prison earlier this month having served a full four year sentence for allegedly engaging in Christian missionary activities and charged with "acting against national security".

According to the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI), Maryam has been banned from leaving Iran for six months.

The 39-year-old children's music teacher told the organisation that she wanted to go in front of the prison and sit there in protest until the ban was removed, but was worried about what would happen to her family.

She said: "With the completion of my sentence, there's no reason for me to be banned from traveling abroad. It's against the law."

Maryam began her sentence in July 2013 for her work on an orphanage with former Christian prisoner Saeed Abedini.

During her time in prison she went on hunger strike in response to authorities not allowing her medical treatment.


Speaking to CHRI after her release, Maryam claimed Evin Prison clinic staff were violating the rights of female prisoners by prescribing unnecessary anti-psychotic medication.

She explained: "The clinic staff lack experience and empathy. When I went there for depression, they gave me a medication that I think was called Haloperidol.

"When I got out of prison, I did some research and found out that it was prescribed for seriously insane patients. These pills paralysed me. I couldn't even think. I could hardly stand up and I fell from the stairs several times."

Despite President Hassan Rouhani's election campaign promises in 2013 and 2017 that he would protect religious minorities, the targeting of Christian converts has continued during his presidency.

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