Outcry over Iranian pastor threatened with execution

THE lawyer acting for the Iranian pastor Yousef Nadarkhani, who faces the death penalty for refusing to re­cant his Christian faith, is “optimistic” that his sentence may be revoked, it has been reported.

Mr Nadarkhani was sentenced to death in the city of Rasht, north Iran, in 2009 (News, 30 September). He has refused three times to reconvert to Islam. The case of Mr Nadarkhani, a father of two and a member of the Protestant Evangelical Church of Iran, has been taken up by governments in the UK and the United States.

The Foreign Secretary, William Hague, has called on the Iranian regime to overturn the “deplorable” sentence. “I pay tribute to the courage shown by Pastor Nadarkhani, who has no case to answer, and call on the Iranian authorities to overturn his sentence.” The Archbishop of Canter­bury has also expressed “deep con­cern” over the sentence.

Now, Mr Nadarkhani’s lawyer, Mohammad Ali Dadkhah, has told Reuters news agency that he is “optimistic that the Supreme Court in [the holy Shi’ite city of] Qom will drop the case altogether. I am 95 per cent sure about it. . . The court is on [next] Monday, and I think that the court decision will come out next Monday.”

He had seen his client several times in prison last week, and said that, al­though Mr Nadarkhani was physically weak, “emotionally, his belief in Christ is keeping his spirits high.”

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