05/08/2011

A pastor sentenced to death ...


In early July, it was reported that the case of Youcef Nadarkhani, an Iranian pastor sentenced to death for leaving Islam, (click here for more information) was being returned to a lower Iranian court. 
Youcef is 34 years old and is from Rasht, in the Gilan province of Iran. For the past ten years he has been a pastor in a network of house churches. He was previously imprisoned in December of 2006, the charges being apostasy (leaving Islam for Christianity)  and evangelism (spreading the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ), but was released two weeks later.He is married and has two sons, Daniel age 9 and Yoel age 7. They were attending a local school when the government decided
iran map 1 300x275 Full Story of Youcef Nadarkhani that all children should be taught about Islam, including those from Christian families. Youcef went to the school and protested this based on the Iranian constitution, which allows for freedom to practice religion. As a result, the secret police called him before the political tribunal in Rasht, Iran on October 12, 2009. At that time he was arrested, charged for protesting, and has been in prison in Lakan (which is seven miles south of Rasht) ever since. Later the charges changed to apostasy and evangelism to Muslims. Read more, click here.
YOUCEFTINA 300x225 Full Story of Youcef Nadarkhani
 In recent days it was learned that his lawyer has finally received the written confirmation of the ruling from the Supreme Court. According to one source, the Supreme Court has agreed with the death sentence verdict. However, the court also found procedural flaws and is asking the lower court to re-examine the case. The judges are reportedly seeking clarification as to whether Pastor Youcef was truly a Muslim prior to becoming a Christian.
 If Pastor Youcef is determined to have been a "true" Muslim and does not recant his Christian faith the death sentence will stand. It is also feared that Pastor Youcef could be executed before the court re-examines the case.Please pray for enduring faith for Pastor Youcef as he continues to face severe pressure to deny his Saviour.
 Pray that officials will repent of their unjust actions and allow Youcef to be exonerated and released.
 Pray that all Iranian Christians imprisoned for their faith will be sustained by the love and presence of their Heavenly Father. 
To all my blogging friends, please pass this message on. Blessings. N.

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