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Iranian Pastor Nadarkhani 'Still Alive', Awaiting Verdict

Monday, April 2, 2012 | , Tag Cloud

By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News

pastor youcef in iranTEHRAN, IRAN (Worthy News)-- Iranian pastor Youcef Nadarkhani who faces execution for refusing to abandon his faith in Christ and embrace Islam was still alive, "through the power of Jesus Christ and prayers", an official assisting him told Worthy News.

"Though we received word that his execution could be imminent, neither he nor his attorneys have received a written verdict or execution order," said Jason DeMars, director of advocacy group Present Truth Ministries, who closely follows the case.

"Through the power of Jesus Christ" [and] prayers he has been preserved alive to this day," DeMars added. "We give credit to the Spirit of God moving in hearts and minds around the world and causing them to take action to help Youcef."

The 34-year-old pastor, a leader of one of Iran's largest evangelical house church movements, was sentenced to death by the local court in his home town of Rasht.

After an Appeals Court asked it to again investigate the case, the court eventually asked Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khameini to give his opinion.

But with international pressure mounting on Iran to release the pastor, there "has still been no response from the Ayatollah to the [court's] letter" sent October 10, last year, De Mars explained.

PROPHET MOHAMMED

Local officials indicated in December however that they could release the pastor if he agreed to make a statement saying Islam's Prophet Mohammed was "a messenger sent by God" Christians with close knowledge about the situation told Worthy News earlier.

Pastor Nadarkhani reportedly refused to do so saying the statement would "amount to abandoning his faith in Jesus Christ."

DeNars said his group has asked Christians around the world to "continue to pray for him, his family, and his church" and to "spread the word" on internet service such as Twitter or website Facebook, at churches and local communities.

Pastor Nadarkhani, who is married with two children, has been detained since 2009 when he was captured in Rasht to register his house congregation, which is part of the Church of Iran movement.

"APOSTASY" CHARGES

The regional Gilan Court sentenced Nadarkhani to death in November 2010 on charges of "apostasy", or abandoning Islam.

His appeal against that ruling was rejected in 2011 with the Supreme Court saying "he can be executed" though it asked for a "re-examination" by the same court that already sentenced him to death.

Despite the reported difficulties there may be at least as many as 100,000 devoted evangelical Christians in Iran, many of them former Muslims, according to mission groups.

Iranian government officials have denied wrongdoing and accused Pastor Nadarkhani of being "a criminal" and "Zionist."

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Worthy Christian News » Christian Persecution » Christian Persecution - Middle East » Iran » Iranian Pastor Nadarkhani 'Still Alive', Awaiting Verdict

1 thought on “Iranian Pastor Nadarkhani 'Still Alive', Awaiting Verdict

  1. Heavenly Father, I lift up this man to you.  He is your precious child, and you are going through this with him.  Lord, remind him of that you are with him through it all, even though I am sure the time he is spending must be dragging...I lift up his wife and children, as well.  I ask, Lord, that you would have mercy, and strike fear of hell fire in the hearts of these government officials that think that Mohammed was a messenger from you.  As much as it is tempting to hate these people that are wrongfully holding this pastor prisoner, I want what you want, Lord, for them to open their spiritual eyes and hearts to you and to repent of their sins, and live for you..to set this pastor free, so he can be reunited with his family, his church..to be free to spread the Word to all those he can..to you be the glory, in Jesus mighty and precious Holy name, AMEN!

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Worthy Christian News » Christian Persecution » Christian Persecution - Middle East » Iran » Iranian Pastor Nadarkhani 'Still Alive', Awaiting Verdict