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.