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Pressure mounts on Iran to acquit Christian pastor

July 29, 2011

GENEVA

International pressure is mounting on Iranian courts to acquit a Christian pastor sentenced to death last year for apostasy. The Supreme Court of Qom overturned the sentence but still ruled if it was proven he was a Muslim upon his conversion and does not repent his conversion, the execution may be carried out.

Yousef Nadarkhani, a 33 year-old minister of the Church of Iran and pastor of a 400-member congregation in the city of Rasht, was sentenced to death last November by a state court for apostasy (abandonment of a religion) and evangelizing Muslims.

Following an appeal, the court, according to an unofficial translation provided by the Washington DC-based American Center for Law and Justice, determined that “if it can be proved that [Yousef] was a practicing Muslim as an adult and has not repented (of his conversion), the execution will be carried out.”

Suzan Johnson Cook, U.S. Ambassador at-large for International Religious Freedom, told ENInews, “we are aware of reports that Mr. Nadarkhani’s sentence would be annulled on the condition that he recant his Christian faith.  While we would welcome the sparing of his life, such coercion shows the Iranian government’s continuing repression of religious freedom.”

Cook also pointed out the U.S. administration has repeatedly called on the government of Iran to respect international law and basic human dignity and to allow its citizens the right to follow the dictates of their conscience.

Nadarkhani’s death sentence, she said, “is just the latest example of how Iran’s leaders hypocritically claim to promote tolerance, while violating the basic human rights of freedom of religion and expression of its citizens.”

If the state court, as instructed by the June 12 verdict of  the Supreme Court, determines after  further investigation, that between ages 15 and 19, (the age he converted) Nadarkhani was a Muslim, then he must either recant his faith or  the execution will be carried out, the Center’s International Legal director, Tiffany Barrans, told ENInews.

Nadarkhani reportedly said during his trial last year that before he was 19, “he did not have any religion,” but that his interrogators had forced him to admit that he was born to Muslim parents and converted to Christianity, U.N. documents reveal.

Similarly, Andrew Johnston, advocacy director at Christian Solidarity Worldwide, said the organization was deeply disappointed by the Supreme Court ruling which as, as he put it, “simply handed Pastor Nadarkhani’s case back to the court that found him guilty in the first place. It is now imperative that governments “apply pressure on Iran,” he said, to ensure his full acquittal.

Moreover, in May Christof Heyns, the U.N. independent expert on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, reported that he had emphasized to the government of Iran that carrying out the execution of Nadarkhani would be incompatible with its obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which it ratified in 1975.

These norms stipulate that in countries that have not abolished the death penalty, capital punishment may be imposed only for the most serious crimes, he noted.

  1. It seems the Laws of Islam are not only hostile to the human spirit but also hostile to the Will of Almighty God, for He Created man to be free moral agents.

    by Billy Stamos

    February 24, 2012

  2. we are praying for you pastor yousef trust in the lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding

    by sarah

    October 30, 2011

  3. i want to sign up my name for releasing pastor yousef

    by sarah angel

    October 30, 2011

  4. The petitions of the righteous are heard by God and He is able to work through these circumstances. Just heard about Pastor Yousef in church Sunday and the entire congreation is praying for God to intervene. May our country stand up for what is right and plead on his behalf to the government officials in Iran.

    by Brenda Davis

    October 4, 2011

  5. We"are asking the U.S. State Dept. to pressure the Iranian Government to release Pastor Nadarkhani. Our Prayers are with him and his family. May God be with him and protect him.

    by Randall C. Wood

    October 3, 2011

  6. I'm so upset about Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani being judged to be killed because he's a Christian. Look how nice America is to muslims. I've made copies of his story in Israel My Glory magazine and took them to every church in the Santa Ynez Valley, CA. He's our Christian brother and needs our prayers.

    by Charlene Whitfield

    October 3, 2011

  7. Praying for your safe release.

    by Lisa

    October 2, 2011

  8. Keep praying for pastor yousef and his family. Pray for their safe delivery. Pray for the Iranian followers of Jesus to continue in the way, the truth and the life. Pray that God will bring many to His family, trusting in Him and knowing He is who He says He is. Open the eyes of our hearts, Lord. May we trust in you like pastor yousef.

    by Renee Moore

    October 2, 2011

  9. Somebody speak up and save Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani....!!!!!

    by Lorin Hart

    October 1, 2011

  10. Pastor YOUSEF NADARKHANI, Millones de hermanos estan orando por ti y tu familia en este momento crucial...LOS REYES DEL TERROR Y LA INTOLERANCIA QUE SON TUS PERSEGUIDORES..CAERAN Y TU SE RAS EXALTADO A SU TIEMPO, PUES JEHOVA ESTA CONTIGO Y LOS TUYOS. Shalom Ubrachah Ba'Yeshuah Ha'Mashiah!!

    by Evang. Felix Rene Vasquez Rosario-Aramboles

    September 30, 2011

  11. Praying for you Pastor Yousef. You are not alone

    by Gwen Bouzigard

    September 30, 2011

  12. God said he would hear our cries. Many are going out for this Man who is standing firm on his faith. We are blessed to live in freedom. Yet the signs of the times show we may all one day face similar situations as the end draws near. I pray God will make a way for this man to be released and saved.

    by Angela Warren

    September 30, 2011

  13. I am praying for this godly man and his family. May the Iranian authorities repent and turn from their tyrannical stance on opposing Chrisianity.

    by Carrie Faulhaber

    September 30, 2011

  14. Why isn't Obama speaking out??? He had no problem stepping forward to cite "racism" when the cops in Cambridge MA. had an ugly incident with his buddy from Harvard.

    by Heather

    September 29, 2011

  15. What a hardcore brother, I pray Gods mighty hand of protection and guidience over him and his family. He is the God that pervides. I pray he provides a safe way for this brother in Christ

    by Adam

    September 29, 2011

  16. Praying for Pastor Youcef and his family to above all stand up for the Lord Jesus Christ and that your testimony of faith would travel throughout the world to every country! The Lord is with you and by His Spirit will enable you! Our God is a Great God and able to do mighty things! Praying for you and your family and your church!

    by virginia leurs

    September 29, 2011

  17. If we do not prevent this travesty against an innocent man over there, we will inevitabley face the same persecution and action here.

    by Kay Henderson

    September 28, 2011

  18. Praying for Pastor Yousef for divine intervention on his behalf as David did in Psalm 142...in the name of Jesus.

    by Elizabeth Fincher

    September 28, 2011

  19. May the lord keep his hands upon you and your family. You are a great man of God!!

    by Tiffiney

    September 28, 2011

  20. My prayers are with him. There are many in Iran who are Christ's. That is what they are afraid of . We Christians are not afraid of other faiths bcause we know who is the one True God and are kind enough to let others believe as they will. This is the essential differnece between Islam and Christianity....love

    by Diane Reinstadtler

    September 28, 2011

  21. Pastor Yousef is in our prayers. The name of Jesus Christ is the Muslim fear. Raise His name.

    by John Zion

    September 28, 2011

  22. Our prayers and those of many are with you and your family

    by Teresa

    September 27, 2011

  23. Please Pardon this and other Preachers. We as a people have beliefs. And many of those beliefs are different. One should never be allowed to loose his life for what one believes, we call this Freedom. The the one and most important privalage we have.

    by Bob Parmley

    September 27, 2011

  24. Praying for the protection and the safe release for my brother in Christ, Pastor Yousef. I will say of the Lord, "He is my refuge and fortress; My God, in Him will I trust. Psalm 91:2

    by Lynda Wright

    September 27, 2011

  25. Mercy is a attribute of Christ(God) Shall we see any here.

    by Jim

    September 27, 2011

  26. We pray Hesus to show Yourself mighty in this situation. You turn the hearts of kings and cause all things to work for good to them who are called for your purpose. Lord, set this man free. We ask You to shine so brightly through him, Holy Spirit, that many are drawn to You. Please comfort and help him, his family, and his fellow believers in that area.

    by valerie

    September 27, 2011

  27. praying for this pastor and for all in Iran

    by Karen Kou

    September 27, 2011

  28. The righteous cry & the Lord hears. I join my prayers with those of a thousand other believers that are claiming your release, pastor Youcef .

    by Sally Cook

    September 27, 2011

  29. Please pressure Iran to spare the life of Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani

    by G.Stephen Cardillo

    September 27, 2011

  30. We're are praying for your release youcef! There are many of us!

    by Lisa Hartke

    September 27, 2011

  31. Our prayers are with Pastor Yousef.

    by Tom Youngblood

    September 27, 2011

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