Thursday, September 29, 2011

For Immediate ReleaseIran: Christian Pastor Faces Execution for ‘Apostasy’Evangelical Christians Targets of Religious Persecution (New York, September 30, 2011) – Iranian authorities should immediately free pastor Yousef Nadarkhani and drop all charges against him, Human Rights Watch said today. Nadarkhani, who has been charged with apostasy and is in Rasht prison in northern Iran, faces possible execution.Nadarkhani, 33, went to an appeals court on September 25, 2011, in response to a summons, said his lawyer, Mohammad Ali Dadkhah. Court officials told him that he had three opportunities to renounce his faith and embrace Islam. The last of the three court sessions, on September 28, ended with Nadarkhani refusing for the third time to recant. A Supreme Court ruling in June had overturned an earlier death sentence against Nadarkhani for apostasy, and ordered the lower court to conduct additional investigations to determine whether Nadarkhani was willing to renounce his Christian faith to avoid execution.

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