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Yousef Nardarkhani's death sentence

yousef-nadarkhani-IIThe death sentence of Youcef Nardarkhani, an Iranian pastor convicted of apostasy, has been upheld and confirmed by the Iranian Supreme Court. Pastor Youcef, a leader in the Full Gospel "Church of Iran" network, was arrested and imprisoned in October 2009 after protesting a decision by the government requiring that his son study the Qur'an). In September, Iran's 11th Circuit Criminal Court of Appeals for the Gilan Province upheld Pastor Youcef's death sentence and conviction for apostasy. The delivery of the death sentence, however, was delayed. Many believe the delay was a means to pressure him to him to turn away from Christ in prison. With the sentence now upheld and confirmed, it is possible that the authorities will ask him to recant his faith and execute him without advance notice if he refuses -- a typical pattern of action taken by authorities in such cases. If Pastor Youcef is indeed executed, his would be the first judicial execution of a Christian in Iran in two decades. He is but one of several members of his church who have been arrested by Iranian officials, and his wife has also spent time in prison because of her faith in Christ.

Pray that God will continue to equip Pastor Youcef to stand firm in his faith. Pray that he will sense the love and support of all those praying for him and working on his behalf. Pray that the Iranian authorities involved will be convicted of their injustice and overturn the case. Pray for comfort to abound in the hearts and minds of Pastor Youcef's wife and children.

Dear brothers and sisters from around the world… Stop everything you are doing and intercede for our beloved brother Youcef Nardarkhani, his wife Tina, their children and all the other members of his church who were arrested along with him…


Update: Court re-examining case of Iranian pastor sentenced to death

In early July, it was reported that the case of Youcef Nadarkhani, an Iranian pastor sentenced to death for leaving Islam, was being returned to a lower Iranian court. In recent days it was learned that his lawyer has finally received the written confirmation of the ruling from the Supreme Court. According to one source, the Supreme Court has agreed with the death sentence verdict. However, the court also found procedural flaws and is asking the lower court to re-examine the case. The judges are reportedly seeking clarification as to whether Pastor Youcef was truly a Muslim prior to becoming a Christian. If Pastor Youcef is determined to have been a "true" Muslim and does not recant his Christian faith the death sentence will stand. It is also feared that Pastor Youcef could be executed before the court re-examines the case.

Pray for enduring faith for Pastor Youcef as he continues to face severe pressure to deny his Saviour. Pray that officials will repent of their unjust actions and allow Youcef to be exonerated and released. Pray that all Iranian Christians imprisoned for their faith will be sustained by the love and presence of their Heavenly Father.


To find out more about Iranians serving the Lord at great risk, visit the Iran Country Report.


 Update: Iranian pastor Yousef Nadarkhani refuses to recant, faces execution



Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, an Iranian pastor sentenced to death for apostasy in September 2010, refused to recant his faith during four court hearings held on September 25-28. He now faces an imminent verdict of the death sentence, which is expected to be issued within seven days. "They probably won't kill him today, but they cando it whenever they want," a source said. "Sometimes in Iran they call the family and deliver the body with the verdict."

In July, the Supreme Court instructed the Revolutionary Tribunal of Gilan Province to review Youcef's case to verify whether he was previously a practicing Muslim . At the recent hearings, the court in Rasht ruled that Pastor Youcef was not a practicing Muslim before becoming a Christian but that he remains guilty of apostasy because of his Muslim ancestry.

Please pray for continued strength and grace for Pastor Youcef. Pray that all charges against him will be dropped. Pray that Pastor Youcef will rely on the Lord to give him the words to say when he stands before accusing authorities (Matthew 10:19). Pray that Iranian authorities will act justly in this case.

A source in Iran has shared that it is critical for foreign governments to negotiate and engage in diplomacy with Iranian authorities about Nadarkhani's case, adding that Youcef's predicament could be more hopeful if they intervened. Please raise a voice on Pastor Youcef's behalf by writing Canada's Minister of Foreign Affairs, your local MP, and the Iranian embassy.


Source: Compass Direct, Present Truth Ministries, Christian Solidarity Worldwide


Update: Iranian pastor Yousef Nadarkhani released




Youcef Nadarkhani, the Iranian Christian pastor who had been re-arrested on Christmas Day after serving nearly three years in prison for renouncing Islam, was released today, according to individuals close to the pastor and his family. 

Nadarkhani, 35, had been held since Christmas Day at Lakan Prison in Rasht, the facility where he was imprisoned from 2010 to 2012 in a case that made international headlines. Although he initially faced possible execution, he had been freed in November, with just 45 days left on a downgraded sentence issued after Fox News and other media outlets drew attention to his plight. But when he was arrested, an Iranian judge said he must finish his sentence.

When Nadarkhani, an active member in Iran's Evangelical community, was acquitted of apostasy in September and subsequently freed, it was seen as a major victory for the grassroots campaign that had embraced his cause. But the arrest on Christmas Day was a bitter blow for the married father of two young children and his supporters.

Last week, after FoxNews.com reported the latest arrest of Nadarkhani, U.S. Congressmen Joe Pitts (R-Pa.), and Keith Ellison, (D-Minn.), released a joint letter blasting the regime.

"We were heartbroken to learn that the government of Iran has thrown Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani back in jail," read the letter, released on Jan. 4. "Given its persecution of Pastor Youcef because of his Christian faith, it was particularly cruel to imprison him on Christmas Day."

Nadarkhani's trouble with the regime in Tehran began in 2006, when he applied for his church to be registered with the state. According to sources, he was arrested at that time and then soon released. In 2009, Nadarkhani went to local officials to complain about Islamic indoctrination in his school district, arguing that his children should not be forced to learn about Islam. He was subsequently arrested.

After his initial release, Nadarkhani wrote a public letter thanking all those who helped release him. In November, he traveled to London to speak at a national human rights conference thanking those who advocated on his behalf.

Nadarkhani's attorney, Mohammed Ali Dadkhah, has been imprisoned and remains in Iran's notoriously brutal Evin Prison, where his health is rapidly deteriorating and he is being denied proper dental care, according to his family. He has been jailed for advocating Nadarkhani's case and other human rights cases.

Lisa Daftari is a Fox News contributor specializing in Middle Eastern affairs.





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