“Be strong. therefore, and let not your hands be weak and slack, for your work shall be rewarded.” 2 Chronicles 15:7
Please continue to pray for Youcef, his family, and the Iranian Supreme Court dealing with this matter. Write letters to our politcal leaders asking for help to pressure the Iranian governement to release Youcef Nadarkhani and grant him his rights and freedoms of religion and freedom of speech.
You can also send Youcef a letter of encouragement at prisoneralert.com.
The Following excerpt/update is taken from Prisoneralert.com
Location: Iran (Islamic Republic of)
Arrested: October 2009
Days Imprisoned: 655
Print Fact Sheet
Youcef Nadarkhani, a 34-year-old pastor from Rasht, about 750 miles northwest of Tehran, was arrested in October 2009 after he protested a government policy that required children, including his 8- and 9-year-old sons, to study the Quran in school. Youcef told school officials that the Iranian constitution allows for freedom of religious practice. As a result of his protest, secret police called him before a political tribunal and arrested him for protesting. The charges were later amended to apostasy and evangelism of Muslims. Youcef was tried on Sept. 21–22, 2010 by the 1st Court of the Revolutionary Tribunal and sentenced to death on Nov. 13 for apostasy.
The pastor is imprisoned in Lakan prison, where authorities have used various methods, including medication, to convert him back to Islam.
After Youcef refused to convert to Islam, his wife was arrested, put on trial without an attorney and sentenced to life in prison. She was later released after an attorney appealed her sentence. The Nadarkhanis’ children were cared for by a relative while they were both in prison.
Youcef Still Needs Prayers
Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani remains in prison awaiting re-examination of his case. This is likely to take place sometime in September. Until then, it is critical that we continue to pray for him. Our contacts report that he is standing firm and strong in his faith, and is even encouraging those who are discouraged, exhorting them to trust in the Lord.
Supreme Court Sends Case Back to Lower Court
VOM’s contacts are reporting a new development in the case of Youcef Nadarkhani. His lawyer has finally received the written ruling from the Supreme Court. According to one source, the Supreme Court has agreed with the death sentence verdict. However, the court “pointed out procedural flaws and is asking the lower court to re-examine the case.” The judges would like clarification as to whether Youcef was truly a Muslim prior to becoming a Christian. If Youcef is determined to have been a “true” Muslim, and he does not recant his Christian faith, the death sentence will stand.
Death Sentence Annulled Temporarily
On Sunday, Iran’s supreme court has overturned a death sentence handed down to Youcef Nadarkhani.
“The supreme court has annulled the death sentence and sent the case back to the court in Rasht, asking the accused to repent,” Mohammad Ali Dadkhah said.
The court’s decision will lift the death sentence only if Youcef recants his Christian faith. It is not clear what will happen if he does not recant.
Youcef’s lawyer was also sentenced on Sunday to nine years in jail and a 10-year ban on practicing law or teaching at university for “actions and propaganda against the Islamic regime”.
Would you like to get involved?
• Write to the Iranian ambassador or representative to your country demanding that they release Pastor Nadarkhani immediately, drop all charges against him, and guarantee his security; and,
• write to your Foreign Minister or Secretary of State, thanking them for their recent statements and insisting that they make Pastor Nadarkhani’s case a priority issue until he is released and his safety guaranteed, using every means at their disposal to ensure his freedom. Urge them as well to continue to make treatment of religious minorities in Iran a primary focus of foreign policy in the region.
Mr. Kambiz Sheikh-Hassani, Chargé d’Affaires, a.i.
Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran
245 Metcalfe St.
Ottawa, Ontario K2P 2K2
Tel.: (613) 235-4726; Fax: (613) 232-5712
The Honourable John Baird
Minister for Foreign Affairs
Foreign Affairs Canada
125 Sussex Drive
Ottawa, ON K1A 0G2
Tel.: (613) 996-0984; Fax: (613) 996-9880
In the United States:
Interests Section of the Islamic Republic of Iran
Embassy of Pakistan
2209 Wisconsin Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20007
Tel.: (202) 965-4990; Fax: (202) 965-1073
Secretary Hillary Clinton
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20520
Tel.: (202) 647-4000 (Main switchboard)