Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Update on Iranian pastor Youcef Nadarkhani

There have been developments in Iran concerning Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, whose death sentence for apostasy (i.e. leaving Islam) was upheld in court hearings in late September, reports Middle East Concern.

First, his lawyer has been informed that the case is being referred to Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Second, the Supreme Court announced on October 11 that it would be willing to consider a further appeal. These are unusual developments in Iran's legal system, and are likely to further delay the issuing of a written verdict following the most recent hearing.

There is continuing uncertainty about the case. The Iranian authorities have repeatedly suggested that a death sentence has not been passed. This is despite the fact that written verdicts issued by the Revolutionary Tribunal of Gilan Province in September 2010 and the Supreme Court in July 2011 explicitly stated that the charge was apostasy and the sentence death.

In July, the Supreme Court also ordered the original tribunal to clarify whether or not Youcef was ever a practicing Muslim as an adult, and to give him further opportunity to recant his faith in Jesus. He refused to do so during the September hearings (for more information, click here).

Iranian Christians rejoice that Youcef's life has been spared thus far and thank us for our prayers. They request our continued intercession that:
  • Youcef's death sentence will be revoked and his conviction overturned. 
  • Youcef, his wife, Fatemeh, and their two sons will know the comfort, presence and hope of Jesus, and that the family will be reunited soon. 
  • Christians throughout Iran will not be intimidated but will know the Lord's enabling and guidance.
  • All officials involved will love mercy, act justly, learn about Jesus and choose to follow Him. 
For more information on the persecuted Church in Iran, please visit our Iran Country Report.

1 comment:

  1. If loving the Lord Jesus Christ is a crime in Iran then all of us believers are happy to declare that we are equally guilty. Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani we cannot say without any doubt that we would take as courageous a stand for our faith in Christ at the risk of our very lives as you are doing. We can only pray that we would be able to stand up for our faith as you are standing. You are the most courageous Christian I have heard of in this modern day, We thank you and continue to pray for you. God bless you and your family.

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