Youcef Nadarkhani of Iran to serve another year in prison

The Qur’an itself does not prescribe any earthly punishment for
apostasy; Islamic scholarship differs on its punishment, ranging from
execution – on an interpretation of certain hadiths – to no punishment
at all as long as they “do not work against the Muslim society or

TEHRAN, IRAN (BosNewsLife)- Iranian pastor Youcef Nadarkhani
has to serve at least one more year in prison before he may be executed
for refusing to abandon his faith in Christ and return to Islam, an
official assisting him has said.

]]>Iran’s judiciary wants to use that time to “use whatever means necessary to cause him to convert to Islam”, explained Jason DeMars, director of advocacy group Present Truth Ministries (PTM).

“The order was to not issue a verdict and hold Youcef in prison,” DeMars quoted an attorney of the pastor as saying. The court was told “to use whatever means necessary to cause him to recant and return to Islam,” DeMars added.

The 34-year-old Nadarkhani, who has a wife and two children, was detained in his home city of Rasht in October 2009 while trying to register his house church.

Nadarkhani was eventually found guilty of “apostasy”, or abandoning Islam, in September 2010 and sentenced to death by the Rasht court.

In June this year Iran’s Supreme Court did not overturn the ruling but instead asked the Rasht court to “re-examine” whether the pastor was a practicing Muslim before he became a Christian at age 19.

Nadarkhani told the court however that he would remain faithful to Christ, said an official of the Church of Iran house church movement.

“Pastor Youcef was [therefore] four times invited [by the court in the northwestern city of Rasht] to recant [his faith] in Christ in order to avoid the execution,” explained Firouz Khandjani, a council member of the pastor’s Church of Iran movement to BosNewsLife earlier.

“He answered that he will not,”Khandjani said.


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