Friday, October 14, 2011

IRAN: Pastor Nadarkhani’s case referred to Iran’s Supreme Leader


The fate of Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani now lies in the hands of Iran’s ultimate political and religious authority. CSW has mobilised mass international prayer and action on behalf of the pastor, who is facing execution for apostasy.

Supreme Leader to decide Pastor Nadarkhani’s case

After several weeks of intense international scrutiny, Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani’s death sentence for apostasy has been referred to Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Hoseyni Khamenei, the highest political and religious authority in the country. Referral of court cases to the Supreme Leader is rare, and will almost certainly cause a further delay to the issuing of the written verdict from Pastor Nadarkhani’s recent trial.

CSW’s Advocacy Director, Andrew Johnston, said “no conclusions can be drawn from the latest developments in the case, and the pastor’s life remains in the balance. We therefore urge continuing petitions for his release. Until a written verdict is issued, there should be no let-up in international pressure.”

International pressure to release Pastor Nadarkhani

This week CSW welcomed the EU Foreign Affairs Council’s appeal “for the immediate and unconditional release of ... Yousef Nadarkhani”, which was contained in a statement commenting on the prevailing human rights situation in Iran,
On 9 October, Archbishop Desmond Tutu also spoke out on behalf of the pastor, appealing “to the Iranian authorities to free Yousef Nadarkhani, and allow him and all other members of minority religions in Iran to worship God … forcing anybody to renounce his or her faith is an utter violation of our universal human and religious values, and a renunciation of God.”

CSW continues to call for urgent prayer and action

CSW coordinated an international Day of Prayer for Pastor Nadarkhani on Sunday 9 October, releasing prayer resources in English, Spanish and Portuguese to meet great demand from churches across the world. As part of CSW’s urgent international campaign, over 57,000 emails have been sent to the Iranian authorities petitioning for Pastor Nadarkhani’s release.

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