Christian Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani faces potential execution
By Jordan Sekulow
Just days after Iran released two Americans accused of spying, an Iranian court has upheld the apostasy conviction and execution sentence of Christian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani.
The 11th branch of Irans Gilan Provincial Court has determined that Nadarkhani has Islamic ancestry and therefore must recant his faith in Jesus Christ. Irans supreme court had previously ruled that the trial court must determine if Youcef had been a Muslim before converting to Christianity.
However, the judges, acting like terrorists with a hostage, demanded that he recant his faith in Christ before even taking evidence. The judges stated that even though the judgment they have made is against the current Iranian and international laws, they have to uphold the previous decision of the 27th Branch of the Supreme Court in Qom.
July-December, 2010 International Religious Freedom Report, U.S. Department of State
You can read about Nadarkhani's case on page of the recently published International Religious Freedom Rep...
When asked to repent by the judges, Youcef stated, Repent means to return. What should I return to? To the blasphemy that I had before my faith in Christ? The judges replied , To the religion of your ancestors, Islam. To which he replied, I cannot.
It is reported that Youcef was able to see his children for the first time since March and was in good spirits speaking of how he longed to serve the church upon his release.
Pastor Youcef will be brought to the court for two additional hearings on September 27th and 28th for the sole purpose of being called upon to recant his Christian faith. The ACLJs sources report that although Pastor Youcefs attorneys will attempt to appeal the case, there is no guarantee that the provincial court will not act on its own interpretation of Sharia law and execute pastor Youcef as early as Wednesday.
Technically, there is no right of appeal, and under Irans interpretation of Hadith and Sharia law, Pastor Youcef is to be given three chances to recant. He has already been asked to recant twice, and will be asked to do so again Tuesday. If he does not recant his Christian faith, he could be executed at any time.
We are continuing to press for the international community to take note of Youcefs situation and call for his unconditional release. We are also continuing to work with members of Congress and are urging the State Department to get involved to save the life of this Christian pastor.
There is still time to save this pastors life.
Please share Youcefs situation with anyone you know and pray for his release and the safety of his attorney, a brave Muslim who has been sentenced to nine years in prison and banned from practicing law by the Iranian government.
UPDATE: Today, Firouz Sadegh-Khandjani, a Member of the Council of Elders for the Church of Iran and a close personal friend of Youcef, called into my radio show from Iran to provide an update on Pastor Youcef. You can listen to the interview here.
|"The chief aim of all government is to preserve the freedom of the citizen. His control over his person, his property, his movements, his business, his desires should be restrained only so far as the public welfare imperatively demands. The world is in more danger of being governed too much than too little.
It is the teaching of all history that liberty can only be preserved in small areas. Local self-government is, therefore, indispensable to liberty. A centralized and distant bureaucracy is the worst of all tyranny.
Taxation can justly be levied for no purpose other than to provide revenue for the support of the government. To tax one person, class or section to provide revenue for the benefit of another is none the less robbery because done under the form of law and called taxation."
John W. Davis, Democratic Presidential Candidate, 1924. Davis was one of the greatest trial and appellate lawyers in US history. He also served as the US Ambassador to the UK.