Sunday, July 31, 2011

DEATH PENALTY UPHELD FOR CHURCH LEADER

Iran’s Supreme Court has upheld the death penalty for Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, who was convicted of apostasy from Islam in September 2010. The pastor had appealed against his conviction, but a written verdict from the court has now confirmed that the appeal was unsuccessful. The death penalty will be annulled if the father of two renounces his faith.
Youcef (33), who was born to Muslim parents, was arrested in October 2009 for objecting to the teaching of Islam to Christian children in schools. The charges against him were later changed to apostasy and evangelising Muslims. His wife, Fatemeh Passandideh, was arrested in June 2010 and sentenced to life in prison. Supporters say that this was an attempt to pressurise the pastor to renounce his faith, but he remained steadfast. Fatemeh was released on appeal in October after four months in prison.
If the sentence is carried out, it would be the first execution for apostasy in Iran since Hossein Soodmand in 1990.
In another incident, Christian student Mostafa Zangooyee (24) was detained for sharing his faith at the university he attends on 30 June. He remains in custody.
Pray for protection for Youcef and others who are in prison for their faith; pray that the death sentence will not be carried out and that he will soon be released unharmed.
Give thanks for Mostafa’s boldness in witnessing for Christ despite the dangers that Christians face in Iran.

BARNABAS FUND
EMAIL NEWS SERVICE
About us: Barnabas Fund works to support Christian communities around the world where they are facing poverty and persecution.

International Website: www.barnabasfund.org
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