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31 January 2012

Pressure on Iran to release Pastor Nadarkhani

Pressure on Iran to release Pastor Nadarkhani

Christians around the world have united in prayer for Iranian pastor Youcef Nadarkhani who faces execution for apostasy and attempting to evangelise Muslims.

Pastor Nadarkhani has been in prison in Iran since October 2009 and it is believed that an execution order was issued earlier this month.

The Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has not made a decision on Pastor Nadarkhani’s death sentence, despite two appeals for him to so from the lower court in Rasht, which originally heard Nadarkhani’s case.

Jordan Sekulow, executive director of the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), said: “We still believe that his execution has been ordered, but it is clear that renewed international pressure on Iran for Pastor Youcef’s release is having an impact.”

Alliance member Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) has learned that Pastor Nadarkhani has spoken with his wife this week and remains in good spirits, despite awaiting the potential death sentence.

Mervyn Thomas, chief executive of CSW, said: “CSW is deeply concerned at the very real possibility that Pastor Nadarkhani’s death sentence could be carried out at any time, despite the fact that there is no legal basis for this sentence.

“We urge the international community to press the Iranian government to release Pastor Nadarkhani, Farshid Fathi Malayeri and others who are unjustly imprisoned or facing execution following flawed judicial processes.

“It is unacceptable that Farshid Fathi Malayeri had to endure over a year of incarceration while awaiting his trial date, including a lengthy time in solitary confinement. CSW also remains deeply concerned at the ongoing harassment and imprisonment of Christians, Baha’is and other minorities, actions which contravene international covenants to which Iran is signatory, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which guarantees freedom of religion. We urge the Iranian authorities to follow due process, and ensure respect for the right to freedom of religion.”

Open Doors is urging Christians to pray for the following points:

  •     Youcef's life will be spared
  •     Youcef will remain strong in his faith and know the presence and peace of Jesus each day
  •     His wife, Fatemeh, and their two sons will know the comfort and hope of Jesus, and that the family will be reunited soon.