Talk of new law against apostasy being softened, but not yet

Monday, July 27th, 2009

Apparently Ali Shahrokhi, a member of Iran’s Legal and Judicial Committee of Paliament, has said the mandatory death sentence for apostates from Islam was going to be withdrawn from the new Islamic Penal code due to be ratified soon. This is of course good news for the church, but three notes of caution should be sounded. Firstly the Guardian Council, made up of strict conservatives, will have the last word and they might reinstate the death penalty; secondly the code could still stipulate severe punishments, such as life imprisonment; and finally, the authorities can use other charges to persecute ‘apostates’ with. This is exactly what has happened in the came of Maryam Rostampour (27) and Marzieh Amirizadeh Esmaeilabad (30). They have been in Evin prison for nearly five months and it has been made clear that their crime is religious: yet it is possible the eventual charges against them will be political. The worldwide church needs to campaign vigorously for full religious freedom in Iran.

  • Pray for religious freedom in Iran.