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Iran Orders Hanging of Pastor Nadarkhani


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February 23, 2012

The Iranian Judiciary has issued orders that Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, 34, be executed by hanging. The sentence can be carried out any moment now.

Today the United States Department of State released the following statement:

“The United States is deeply concerned by reports that a provincial court has renewed the execution order for Iranian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani. Mr. Nadarkhani is facing a death sentence on charges of apostasy and has refused to recant his Christian faith. Such government persecution for simply following one’s faith is common in Iran, where followers of many religious traditions face harsh treatment and severe violations of their religious freedom. We have also witnessed a dramatic increase in the arrest of adherents to the Baha’i Faith recently, as well as an increase in repression of freedom of expression in all forms. We stand with religious and political leaders from around the world in condemning Youcef Nadarkhani’s conviction and call for his immediate release.”

On a more ominous note, it appears that pressure from the U.S. Department of State as well the collective outrage of reasonable people around the world delayed the final orders. The fact that they are now being issued may signal an ominous change in the way Iran perceives its role in the international community.

In the meantime, let us Occupy Heaven with our petitions for this young pastor’s life and call for his release. Below this article you will find a brief history I prepared on the case two months ago.

To Take Action, visit http://dynamic.csw.org.uk/article.asp?t=news&id=1142

In prayer,

Michael Peabody

The Youcef Nadarkhani Story

By Michael Peabody -

It is difficult to argue for separation of church and state when you are living in a "theocracy." Iranian pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, 34, learned this fact when he was arrested in October 2009 soon after refusing to allow his children to participate in government-mandated readings of the Quran. Nadarkhani had argued that Iranian law allowed children to be raised in the faith of their parents.

Nadarkhani remained incarcerated and in September 2010, a Gilan Province court ordered him to hang for “convert(ing) to Christianity” and “encourag(ing) other Muslims to convert to Christianity.”

The court did provide an opportunity for Nadarkhani to easily escape the gallows – all he had to do was verbally renounce Christianity. Since then, as of this writing, Nadarkhani has had the choice whether to live or die – just say the words and his freedom will be restored. Yet he refuses and remains behind walls at the Lakan prison.

The court asked him, “Do you believe in the elements of Islam which are the unity of God, resurrection of the dead and the prophethood of great Mohammad?”

Nadarkhani replied, “I believe in the unity of God and the resurrection of the dead but not the prophethood of great Mohammad.”

On June 10, 2010, Nadarkhani’s wife, Fatemah Pasindedih was arrested under charges of apostasy and imprisoned at Lakan. The authorities threatened to take away their children and give them to a Muslim family. Nadarkhani continued to refuse to convert and his wife was tried without an attorney and sentenced to life imprisonment. An attorney was then retained and that decision was appealed and the sentence was overturned and she was released.

Nadarkhani’s death sentence was appealed to the Iranian Supreme Court in December 2010 and on June 28, 2011 the verdict was handed down. He was to be “executed by being hung somehow until his soul is taken from him.” The Court ruled that there was some question as to whether Nadarkhani had previously been a practicing Muslim “from the beginning of puberty” onward and therefore whether he had actually committed apostasy. The lower court was ordered to determine whether he had been a practicing Muslim between the ages of 15 and 19. If he had been a Muslim during that time, then the court could execute him after giving him an additional opportunity to recant.

The lower court held its re-trial between September 25 and 28, 2011. Before the trial even began, he was asked to renounce his faith. Under Islamic Sharia law, an apostate is given three days to recant. The court then asked Nadarkhani to renounce his Christianity and “return to the faith of your ancestors.”

As the case progressed, the story caught fire on the Internet and soon news agencies around the world were spreading the story of a young pastor facing death for refusing to renounce his faith. In an attempt to sway attention away from the story, the Iranian state-supported media outlet, Fars News Agency, dismissed claims that the court had passed down the death sentence because of apostasy, and that Nadarkhani had actually been charged with “rape, corruption, and security-related crimes including extortion.”[ii]

The Fars story added that Nadarkhani was a “Zionist” who ran a “corruption” house like a brothel or “opium house.” The alleged charges were not clear as to what Nadarkani had allegedly done.

In response, Nadarkhani’s attorney, Mohammed Ali Dadkhah told told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran that, “If he is under trial in another court on other charges, I am not aware. But we only defended him against the death sentence in the case of his charge of apostasy. The charge the court staff announced that I defended during several different court sessions was apostasy and no other charge.”[iii]

Dadkhah, a Iranian Muslim represents Nadarkhani at great personal risk - he himself appealing a sentence of nine years in prison for “actions and propaganda against the Islamic regime,” which is what the government calls his legal human rights work.

Iran’s secret service officials have reportedly given Nadarkhani a book on Islamic literature, and told him that they will return to discuss it with him. The book, entitled “Beshaarat-eh Ahdein,” claims that Christianity is false. If Nadarkhani later discusses the book with authorities and claims that he disagrees with it, this may be a basis for a later charge of blasphemy. As a result, Nadarkhani’s attorneys have advised him to remain silent on the book as any statements he makes could be used against him.

Hillary Clinton, the U.S. Secretary of State released a statement on September 30, 2011 expressing concern about the case and persecution against Zoroastrians, Sufis, and Baha’is. Clinton wrote, “The United States stands with the international community and all Iranians against the Iranian government’s hypocritical statements and actions, and we continue to call for a government that respects the human rights and freedom of all those living in Iran.”

U.S. House Speaker John Boehner said that the prospects for the execution of Nadarkhani, “unless he disavows his Christian faith are distressing for people of every country and creed.”

Today, there are about 300,000 Christians living in Iran - one-half of one percent of the population. Of those, the majority are ethnic Armenians. There are 73 registered individual Christian churches, and almost all Christian activity is illegal. Those who conduct evangelistic activities including publishing pamphlets in Persian languages are harshly punished.

During the early 1990s, religious persecution increased in Iran. In 1993, Pastor Mehdi Dibaj, an Islamic convert was sentenced to die after ten years of imprisonment. Later that year, church leaders were asked to sign a declaration stating that they would not allow Muslims or Muslim converts into their churches. Only two church leaders refused to sign, including Haik Hovsepian who was the Superintendent of the Assemblies of God churches in Iran.

Instead, Hovsepian called the world’s attention to the plight of Iranian Christians. With an increase in international pressure, Dibadj was released from prison on January 19, 1994, only days before he was scheduled to die.[iv]

That same day, Hovsepian vanished from the streets of Tehran. His body was later found with 26 stab wounds in the chest. Dibadj and three other pastors disappeared and were found dead.

Throughout history, it seems that people of most faiths have had some period of persecution and martyrdom for no crime other than telling others what they have chosen to believe. Those who dared to think differently were dangerous to the status quo and they either had to publicly change their mind or face torture or death.

When it comes to church and state issues, Americans have become used to “epic” battles over Nativity scenes, prayers in public schools, or the occasional crucifix in a government office. But in other nations of the world, making the basic choice to believe a certain way can quickly become a matter of life and death.

There is still hope that the sentence will not be carried out.

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The death was postponed but still in the process. His case and the petation is going to be bought up in the house of representatives on Thursday March 1, 2012, please sign the petition if you have not and keep this matter in prayer.

To sign the petition to save his life go to:

http://aclj.org/iran/​save-christian-pastor-nadarkhan​i-iranian-death-sentence

aclj.org

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Youcef Nadarkhani Executed: Christian Pastor Hanged in Iran for Being Christian

Iran, War on Terror Add comments

Mar

03

2012

Youcef Nadarkhani has been executed in Iran. He is the Christian pastor who has been imprisoned and found guilty by the courts in Iran of being a Christian. Now he’s been executed in spite of international appeals to spare his life. He was hanged today.

Youcef Nadarkhani was arrested in 2009 for being a Christian in a muslim country – specifically Iran. The 34-year-old father and husband was charged with refusing to convert to Islam. He was given the opportunity to renounce his Christian religion and refused, resulting is his condemnation and sentence to death by hanging.

There is breaking news that he has been put to death by hanging because of his refusal to renounce his Christian religion and acceptance of islam.

breaking news

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Mar

03

2012

Youcef Nadarkhani has been executed in Iran. He is the Christian pastor who has been imprisoned and found guilty by the courts in Iran of being a Christian. Now he’s been executed in spite of international appeals to spare his life. He was hanged today.

Youcef Nadarkhani was arrested in 2009 for being a Christian in a muslim country – specifically Iran. The 34-year-old father and husband was charged with refusing to convert to Islam. He was given the opportunity to renounce his Christian religion and refused, resulting is his condemnation and sentence to death by hanging.

There is breaking news that he has been put to death by hanging because of his refusal to renounce his Christian religion and acceptance of islam.

y-y-yess b-b-but extremist radical muslims are a "minority" - right???

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So is it just "coincidental" that the leaders in Iran are radical extremists?

Sharia Law in Saudi Arabia - extremist?

Who has taken power in the so-called "Arab spring?" - Moderates?

Where is the Muslim outcry (from that great mythical moderate center) against Iran in all of this?

Is it possible that Muslims actually agree with this death sentence in the specific case given for this thread and that is why even in America - their is no swelling outcry among them condemning that action as "not Muslim"??

in Christ,

Bob

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I suppose we could ask our Muslim neighbors and friends...if they still have citizenship over there or go back and visit regularly I would think they would be careful about what they say.

On another note, the bible says if we are persecuted in one place to move. Was the possibility of that family moving somewhere else ever mentioned? Were they ever offered a home elsewhere?

And still another note, we have a very good example in Muslim countries of how it goes when morality is legislated. They do not have the crime etc., that we do, nor do they have the freedom we do.

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Where is the Muslim outcry (from that great mythical moderate center) against Iran in all of this?

I do agree there should be an outcry, but as teresaq has commented, maybe there is a reason why no outcry!

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I suppose we could ask our Muslim neighbors and friends...if they still have citizenship over there or go back and visit regularly I would think they would be careful about what they say.

On another note, the bible says if we are persecuted in one place to move. Was the possibility of that family moving somewhere else ever mentioned? Were they ever offered a home elsewhere?

And still another note, we have a very good example in Muslim countries of how it goes when morality is legislated. They do not have the crime etc., that we do, nor do they have the freedom we do.

You bring up some great points.

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And still another note, we have a very good example in Muslim countries of how it goes when morality is legislated. They do not have the crime etc., that we do, nor do they have the freedom we do.

that should probably read, "they do not have the reported crime...."

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