Execution order may have been issued for Iranian pastor
By Michelle Bauman
Christian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani and his Family. Credit: ACLJ.
Christian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani and his Family. Credit: ACLJ.

.- Iranian authorities may have issued an execution order for a pastor jailed for refusing to renounce his Christian faith.

“The news out of Iran is not encouraging,” said Jordan Sekulow, executive director of the American Center for Law and Justice.

The D.C.-based human rights organization said that it has received information from its contacts in Iran that execution orders for Yousef Nadarkhani may have been issued.

A spokesman for the organization told CNA that Nadarkhani was still alive as of Feb. 21.

However, the situation is “dire,” the group said, and there is a need for prayer and increased efforts to focus international attention and pressure on Iran.

Sekulow said that the Iranian regime might have “decided to move forward by issuing an execution order” while international attention “is focused elsewhere.”

He explained that pressure from around the globe is essential because Iran's top officials still have the power to reject the order.

Nadarkhani has been in jail since 2009, when he was arrested after complaining to local authorities about his son being forced to read the Quran at school.

Despite threats of execution for apostasy, the Christian pastor has refused to renounce his faith.

An appeals court agreed with Nadarkhani’s assertion that he had never been a Muslim during his adult life. However, it also decided that because he had left the faith of his ancestors, he must recant or die.

Amid growing international pressure, Iranian officials then asked the nation’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, for an “opinion” on the case.

The court had promised to issue a decision by December if the Supreme Leader did not reply. However, no ruling has been issued, and Nadarkhani has remained in jail.

A statement by the American Center for Law and Justice said that it is unclear whether Nadarkhani would have a right to appeal the execution order.
Although all publicly held executions must be approved by the head of Iran’s Judiciary Chief, Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani, most executions in Iran are carried out secretly rather than in public, it explained.

The statement also observed a “disturbing increase” in the number of executions carried out by the Iranian regime in recent weeks. 

Sekulow and his colleagues have been following Nadarkhani’s situation for several months, raising awareness for the pastor’s plight through efforts including a Twitter campaign and online petition, which has received more than 35,000 signatures.

On Feb. 17, Congressman Joe Pitts (R-Pa.) introduced a resolution condemning the Iranian government and calling for the release of Nadarkhani.

Efforts are now intensifying to raise support for that resolution and other awareness initiatives that may save the condemned pastor’s life.

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages


Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis visits poor neighborhood and meets with young people from Argentina
Pope Francis celebrates Mass at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida
Denver rally draws hundreds in support of religious freedom
Pope Francis prays over a sick man in St Peter's Square
Denver women's clinic will offer natural, Catholic care
Interview Clips: Barbara Nicolosi speaks to CNA
US Cardinals press conference at North American College
Pope Benedict to retire to monastery inside Vatican City
Pope cites waning strength as reason for resignation
Hundreds convene in Denver to urge respect for life
New Orange bishop encourages Catholic unity in diversity
Chinese pro-life activist calls for reform, international attention
At Lincoln installation, Bishop Conley says holiness is success
Mother Cabrini shrine reopens in Chicago after a decade
Ordination of 33 deacons fills St. Peter's with joy
Cardinal says "Charity is the mother of all the virtues"
Augustine Institute expands evangelization effort with new campus
Bishops recall 'Way of St. James' as chance to trust in God
Los Angeles cathedral's newest chapel houses Guadalupe relic

Liturgical Calendar

April 16, 2014

Wednesday of Holy Week

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 26:14-25


Daily Readings

First Reading:: Is 50:4-9a
Gospel:: Mt 26:14-25

Homily of the Day

Mt 26:14-25


Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
Text only

Follow us: