Pastor Nadarkhani: 1000 days in a solitary cell

Citizens all over the world on Wednesday, July 11, urged prayers “for everyone” involved in the case of an Iranian pastor who marked his 1,000th day behind bars while awaiting possible execution for refusing to recant his faith in Christ and return to Islam.

“Sunday marked the 1,000th day that Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani has been illegally detained in prison in Iran…A new trial date [with fresh charges including 'threatening national security' and possible 'blasphemy'] has been scheduled for September 8th,” said Jason DeMars, who assists the church leader with advocacy.

DeMars, director of the advocacy group Present Truth Ministries, told that Nadarkhani has not “officially” been notified about the new charges.

“There is speculation that he will be charged with a lesser crime and that he will be pardoned for [the death-sentencing carrying charge of] ‘Apostasy'”, or abandoning Islam, “but this is only speculation and has not been confirmed by official notice or other means,” explained De Mars.

HALTING EXECUTION?

Only Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei or Sadegh Larijani, the head of Iran’s judiciary, have the authority to halt an execution, according to trial observers.

“I think judges would rather release him, but are under pressure by hardliners to execute him,” explained Firouz Khandjani, a council member of the pastor’s Church of Iran house church movement told BosNewsLife earlier this year.

“That’s why the court asked the Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Khameini for an opinion so they can say they are not responsible for his execution,” he added.

Officials reportedly visited Nadarkhani asking him to recant his faith, or at least publicly acknowledge Prophet Muhammed as “God’s messenger” in exchange for freedom, something he refused.

CONTINUED PRAYER

“We ask for continued prayer for everyone involved in Youcef’s case, especially the Supreme Leader of Iran Ayatollah Khamenei and the head of the judiciary, Ayatollah Larijani,” DeMars wrote in a statement to his group’s predominantly Christian supporters.

There has been international concern about the imprisonment of the 35-year-old Nadarkhani, who is married with two children. In a statement, the U.S. State Department said it noted that “July 8 marked 1,000 days Christian pastor Youcef Nadarkhani has spent in an Iranian prison.”

The Department said that “Pastor Nadarkhani still faces the threat of execution for simply following his faith,” adding that “and we repeat our call for Iranian authorities to release him immediately.”

DeMars said hes group “applaud the State Department for taking this stand.”

Source

New court date set for jailed Iranian pastor Youcef Nadarkhani

A new court date has been set for Youcef Nadarkhani, the Iranian pastor on death row who has been imprisoned for nearly 1,000 days, but his supporters remain in the dark about what it could mean for his ultimate fate.

Nadarkhani, 35, is scheduled to appear in court on Sept. 8, according to Jordan Sekulow, executive Director of the American Center for Law and Justice, which has been closely monitoring the case.

“We do not know the purpose of the appearance or the likelihood of new charges,” Sekulow told. “We want to dispel any rumors that his current apostasy charge, for which he was sentenced to death, has been removed. Until the regime unconditionally exonerates and releases Pastor Youcef, his apostasy charge stands.”

Read more:

Iranian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani Standing Firm in the Face of Persecution

Iranian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani has remained for supporters a shining example of a faith-filled Christian standing firm in the face of persecution. According to Jordan Sekulow, executive director of the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), Nadarkhani exemplifies a true Christian who is willing to sacrifice everything in this life on earth for his faith.
Nadarkhani, a married father of two, was arrested in Oct. 2009 for protesting the mandatory teaching of Islam at his children’s schools. He was then charged with apostasy and attempting to evangelize Muslims, charges for which an execution order was issued in Feb. 2012. He currently remains in Iranian prison awaiting further news on his execution order. Sekulow and the nonprofit ACLJ have been closely monitoring the evangelical pastor’s case.

The Iranian courts have asked Nadarkhani to recant his Christian faith in exchange for freedom numerous times. Each time, he has refused.

“The human response is any time we are in peril, is to save our human lives, rather than to think about our spiritual life,” Sekulow told The Christian Post. “[Nadarkhani] was given these opportunities to walk free from jail and renounce his faith. He was given three opportunities and he didn’t do so, that’s the example we hope to follow.”

“We hope that our faith remains strong and doesn’t waver, but in reality we know that is very difficult. I think that’s what highlights the story of Youcef Nadarkhani,” Sekulow added.

While the Scriptures perpetually teach about the trials and tribulations of the persecuted, Nadarkhani is a real-life example, said the attorney, noting that persecution is the core of the Gospel.

“Remember… what happened to the Church after Christ left, and what the Church went through to be what it is today,” Sekulow told CP.

Nadarkhani recently penned a letter to the human rights group Present Truth Ministries, talking about his experience with persecution. In the letter, he spoke of how he has struggled, but continues to maintain strong in his faith.

“And during these days which are hard in order to prove your loyalty and sincerity to God, I am trying to do the best in my power to stay right with what I have learned from God’s commandments,” he wrote.

“I need to remind my beloveds, though my trial due has been so long, and as in the flesh I wish these days to end, yet I have surrendered myself to God’s will,” he added.

While Nadarkhani is a very highlighted victim of persecution, Sekulow emphasized that much of the world still suffers from religious persecution.

“Much of the world’s population still lives without religious freedom, especially religious minorities […] I think it’s about a third of the world, so if you look at that statistic, I think we have to get out of our mindset as Americans,” he said. “We haven’t had to face those kinds of decisions in our own lives because we’re blessed to be born in the United States of America.”

“Persecuted Christians have a place in Scripture that is elevated above [all others]. These are the people who are really willing to risk everything, and give everything up on earth, because of their faith,” Sekulow said of Nadarkhani and other persecuted people around the world.

As far as what other Christians can do to help the persecuted, Sekulow said supporters can take “advantage of modern society […] to never miss an opportunity to unite on these issues.”

Use of the Internet proves crucial as “many governments don’t have the capability to shut down all communication.”

Sekulow noted, however, that faith is the most important thing to maintain.

“We have to stay positive to our faith, and work to not be discouraged […] we use our minds, our capabilities, [and] resources that other groups have around the world to try to do what we can,” he said.

Recently, Nadarkhani’s lawyer, Mohammad Ali Dadkhah was sentenced to nine years in prison for “acting against the national security.” Dadkhah has yet to be arrested.

Source

 

Tweet for Youcef Reaches 1.9 Million Worldwide

The ACLJ’s Tweet for Youcef campaign is now reaching 1.5 million Twitter accounts around the world with daily updates and information in English about Christian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani. In addition, our Tweet for Youcef campaign in Brazil is reaching more than 400,000 Twitter accounts each day with updates in Portuguese.

Pastor Youcef still faces execution in Iran for his Christian faith. He has now been illegally imprisoned for his faith for 928 days, in violation of Iranian and international law.

 

 

The ACLJ continues to work with his brave Iranian attorney, the State Department, and world leaders to secure his release. Our sources in Iran have confirmed that as of April 25th Pastor Youcef is still alive.

Pastor Youcef remains the face of persecution in Iran and worldwide, as 12 more Christians were recently tried for their faith in the same provincial court that sentenced Pastor Youcef to death.

It is through worldwide efforts, like Tweet for Youcef, utilizing traditional and social media that we can continue to raise awareness about the plight of these persecuted Christians and pressure oppressive regimes like Iran to honor the basic human right to religious liberty.

In just three months, the Tweet for Youcef campaign has helped Pastor Youcef’s story reach 211 countries and territories around the world including more than 93 percent of the United Nations member states. Tweet for Youcef has now reached 37 countries and territories that are majority Muslim or governed by some form Shariah law, including Iran, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Syria.

Join the growing call echoing around the world for Pastor Youcef’s release.Tweet for Youcef today, and help us reach 2 million around the world.

 

Source: ACLJ

Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani Spends 35th Birthday With Family

The American Center for Law and Justice has confirmed that Iranian authorities allowed Youcef Nadarkhani’s family and local lawyers to visit him while in prison on April 11, which marked the evangelical Christian pastor’s 35th birthday.

In addition to the date marking Nadarkhani’s birthday, it was also the 913th day of imprisonment for the married father of two. The pastor was arrested in Oct. 2009 for protesting the mandatory teaching of Islam at his children’s schools.

His charges were later changed to apostasy and attempting to evangelize Muslims, for which he was sentenced to death.

Nadarkhani has gained a large amount of international support since his imprisonment, with Brazil, the Netherlands, Germany, Mexico, the United States and Europe Union, France, and Great Britain all publicly arguing that Iran is in violation of the International Declaration of Human Rights and the Iranian constitution.

The human rights ministry Present Truth Ministries organized an international prayer vigil and fasting day on April 11 in honor of Nadarkhani, and for the committed Christian to have wisdom, strength, peace, and be release from prison.

Similarly, hundreds of protesters supported Nadarkhani in Hamburg, Germany on April 7 through an organized march and vigil, during which they prayed for Nadarkhani’s release.

 

ACLJ: Pastor Youcef Sees His Son on His Son’s Birthday

ACLJ news service

Yesterday, 2nd of April was Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani’s son’s birthday. While he didn’t got the present he really wanted, his father’s freedom, he did receive a very special gift. Pastor Youcef’s son was able to visit his father in prison.

Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani and his two sons in Iran

This was not only a birthday present for his son, but serves as an early birthday present for Pastor Youcef, who will celebrate his 35th birthday and the two-and a half year mark of his imprisonment next week. Over the course of Pastor Youcef’s illegal imprisonment in Iran, he has only been permitted to see his children a handful of times.

Not only does this mean that Pastor Youcef is still alive, but it is a precious reminder of what we are fighting for – freedom for a loving father, a devoted husband, a caring pastor, and a devout follower of Christ.

The information from our sources in Iran that Pastor Youcef is still alive should also put to rest any lingering rumors of his execution. Last week, ACLJ told you about a number of false rumors circulating the Internet that Pastor Youcef had been executed. That post was very successful in stomping out the false rumors, and Snopes (a website dedicated to debunking internet rumors) used the ACLJ’s information to expose these false rumors.

Iranian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani Confirmed Alive, Execution Reports False

The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) has confirmed that Iranian pastor Youcef Nadarkhani is still alive and that earlier reports of his execution were a sham.

“The ACLJ still believes that the execution order has been issued, but we can confirm that as of today Pastor Youcef is still alive,” the religious, pro-life group said on Monday.

Rumors of his execution spread like wildfire after images of a blindfolded man standing next to a noose were circulated widely on the Internet. The images caused an outrage among his followers, who alleged it was Nadarkhani himself. ACLJ believed that the pictures were in fact circulating since July 2011, and that the reports of his execution may have been fabricated by the Iranian regime, which has been accused of spreading misinformation about the pastor.

ACLJ also cited that the false reports could have an unfavorable effect on the potential release of the pastor, who has been imprisoned since October 2009. As of now, there is growing international pressure on Iranian authorities who are yet to announce a verdict on Nadarkhani’s case.


Meanwhile, ACLJ’s Youcef campaign on Twitter has expanded to over 1.3 million users coming from over 90 percent of the UN member countries.

Following several accusations of Iran violating human rights policies, authorities are attempting to change the apostasy charges against the pastor to that of a security crime instead of a religious one, Iran’s Press TV said earlier.

According to a Fox News report, Jordan Sekulow, executive director of ACLJ suggested that Iran may be also trying to use Nadarkhani as a “bargaining chip” to move ahead with its nuclear agenda on which the US has imposed sanctions.

The 32-year-old evangelical Christian was convicted of several religious crimes that include practicing his faith in his house without government permission, preaching to minors as well as raping and spying. Nadarkhani, who was born a muslim, was given the option by the court to embrace Islam. He was sentenced to death when he refused to renounce Christianity.

As of now, several organizations fear that the pastor will be executed any time and without notification, as is Iran’s practice of executing those on the death row.