by Dr. D ~ July 8th, 2011
The Supreme Court of Iran rejected an appeal by an Iranian pastor convicted of apostasy so a death sentence may still remain in force.
In 2009, Pastor Youcef Nardarkhani, a leader in the Full Gospel "Church of Iran" was arrested and imprisoned after protesting a government requirement that his son study the Koran. He was charged and convicted of ‘apostasy’ against Islam which carries a death sentence under the current penal code.
However, no Christian in Iran has actually been executed for apostasy in the last 20 years so there is still hope that the death sentence will not be carried out in this case. Nevertheless it is bad enough that the pastor will continue to be imprisoned for essentially wanting his son to be a Christian and not be forced to be a Muslim and study the Koran.
The Supreme Court also sent the case back to the lower court for further consideration so the delay buys more time for the pastor and his family. There is still hope that the international visibility and adverse publicity of this case will bring a reversal of the capitol sentence.
Response: This is an important case since Christian ‘house’ churches are actually expanding at an exponential rate in Iran. A half a million Iranian Christians plus thousands of Iranian pastors are hoping for the legal right to practice their faith without facing prison or death. Prayers are in order for this family and all Christians in the very oppressive Islamic Republic of Iran. *Top