From September 25th to 28th 2011 the court in Rasht in the north of Iran asked Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani three times to renounce his faith in Jesus Christ so the judge could annul the charge of apostasy against him. He refused. Now he is back in prison awaiting his sentence which in November 2010 was death by hanging. Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani’s lawyer has expressed hope that the charge of apostasy will be annulled this time, but until the court give its verdict there is no certainty.
There has been outrage around the world that Iran is willing to use the death sentence on one of its citizens solely for choosing to believe in Jesus Christ. There is also division among Iran’s own religious leaders regarding the use of the death sentence for apostasy from Islam. While some support the death sentence, others, most famously the late Ayatollah Montazami, have said that there is no insistence in Islam that an apostate should be killed.
• For all charges against Yousef Nadarkhani to be dropped.
• Courage for other Christians
• Iran to meet its international obligations regarding religious freedom
Yousef Nadarkhani shown the rope, still refuses to recant (originally posted September 13th, 2011)
Yousef Nadarkhani has been ordered to appear in court in just a month and a half to again face the charge of apostasy from Islam where the death sentence is likely to be confirmed. On June 27th 2011 Iran’s Supreme Court upheld the original death sentence handed out in November 2010, but then suspended it, implying that the 34 year old Pastor Nadarkhani who became a Christian when he was 19, should be given time to change his mind. Twice been taken to the gallows and shown the rope that he would hang from. This might have been to help him change his mind.
Despite this cruel violation of the United Nations Charter of Human Rights which affirms that everyone can choose their own faith, Yousef Nadarkhani has refused to deny Christ letting his family know, ‘I am staying in my faith.’
Yousef Nadarkhani was first arrested in September 2009 when he approached the local school to ask if his two children could be taken out of the Koran classes. The reply was to send him to prison. Later his wife, Fatemeh Nadarkhani, was also detained, but she was released in October 2010. As for the children, they have not been to school for the last two years.
• Yousef Nadarkhani to remain a faithful witness
• His immediate release
• Grace for his family