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  • » 07/06/2011, 00.00

    IRAN

    Mystery shrouds fate of Iranian pastor sentenced to death for apostasy



    The Supreme Court had overturned the decision on the condition of the evangelical leader return to Islam. The sentence for apostasy, not covered by the Code of laws of Iran of political origin.
    Tehran (AsiaNews / Agencies) – Mystery shrouds the abolition of the death sentence of an Iranian Pastor, Youcef Nadarkhani, a convert to Christianity, which was announced in recent days. Christian sources in Iran have stated that the Supreme Court had overturned the conviction of the evangelical leader, but asked for his return to Islam as a precondition. And there is still no written confirmation of the Supreme Court decision to accept the pastor ‘s appeal against the death sentence for apostasy.

    The situation is complicated by the fact that Youcef Nadarkhani’s lawyer, Moahammad Ali Dadkhah should have received written notice of the decision in recent days. But Dadkhah, one of the founders of the Center for Defense of Human Rights along with Nobel Laureate Shirin Ebadi is in a difficult legal position. On July 3, a Tehran court sentenced him to nine years in prison and 10 years of banishment from university and the teaching profession, "for actions contrary to the Islamic regime and propaganda." Dadkhah has 20 days to appeal, but fears that he might be arrested in the coming days.

    Iranian civil law does not provide the crime of apostasy, even if authorities have discussed passing such a law for some time. In the case of Pastor Nadarkhani, which has been described as "distorted" and "extrajudicial", it seems that there was political pressure on judges, who were divided on the sentence. The court apparently used art. 167 of the Iranian Constitution, which states that if the judges do not find the basis for a decision in civil law then they should "cite Islamic reliable sources or a valid fatwa to arrive at a judgement and issue a verdict."

    Pastor Nadarkhani Youcef, a member of the Church of Iran, was arrested Oct. 13, 2009 in the city of Rasht as he tried to legally register his church. It is believed that his arrest was caused by his position, critical of the Islamic religious monopoly on the education of children in Iran. He was initially accused of protests, but later the charges were changed into that of apostasy and the evangelization of Muslims.

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    See also

    20/10/2010 IRAN
    Iranian Protestant pastor, held in prison for months, risks death penalty for apostasy
    Youcef Nadarkhani's wife was released a few days ago after four months of detention. The arrest comes as evangelical Christians complain of increased pressure against them, an unprecedented persecution since the advent of the ayatollahs' regime.

    01/10/2011 IRAN
    Iranian pastor sentenced to death for "crimes against national security"
    Governor-General Gholam-Ali Rezvani announces sentence. Immediately denied by Yusef Nadarkhani’s lawyer: "In court, the judges have spoken of apostasy of Islam." The evangelical pastor had converted to Christianity at age 19. He was arrested in 2009. Last July the Supreme Court overturned the sentence.

    08/09/2012 IRAN
    Iranian Protestant pastor, sentenced to death for apostasy, is released
    Judges have dropped the charges against Youcef Nadarkhani in prison since 2009. He was, however, convicted of "evangelizing Muslims." Based on the three-year sentence, he already served the time and should now be released. Satisfaction among the members of the Church of Iran.

    21/07/2011 IRAN
    Tehran suspends, but does not revoke pastor’s death sentence for converting
    Iranian Christians sources publish the text of the Supreme Court ruling against Youcef Nadarkhani, sentenced to be hanged in the first instance, unless he renounces the Christian faith, for apostasy. Must he show that he was not a follower of Islam between 15 and 19 years of age.

    14/08/2008 IRAN
    Green light from mullahs for killing of Shirin Ebadi?
    The charge has been prompted by an accusation issued by official sources, saying that the Nobel laureate has become Bahai. For the Iranian criminal code, this makes her worthy of death, and if someone were to kill her he would not be punished.



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