Pastor Nadarkhani still alive

7 Mar 2012

Despite rumours circulating that Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani was executed last weekend, sources inside Iran confirmed on Saturday that he was still alive.  CSW continues to call for prayer and public action to spread the word about his case. 

False rumours of execution

Disinformation and false rumours that Pastor Nadarkhani's execution had already taken place began to circulate last weekend. CSW's sources were able to verify on Saturday 3 March that he was receiving a visit from his wife at the time these rumours were spreading worldwide. 

Why was Pastor Nadarkhani arrested and given the death sentence?

Pastor Nadarkhani was arrested in October 2009, soon after questioning the Muslim monopoly of religious instruction for children in Iran, which he felt was unconstitutional. 

In September 2010, he was tried and found guilty of apostasy (abandoning Islam) and received verbal notification of a death sentence, despite the fact that death for apostasy is not codified in the Iranian Penal Code. The written verdict, which arrived in November 2010, confirmed the death sentence. An appeal was heard by the Supreme Court in June 2011, and verbal notification of a lifting of the death sentence was given.

However, the written verdict, which arrived in July, upheld the death sentence, but made provision for its  removed if Pastor Nadarkhani recanted his faith. The Supreme Court also asked the court in Rasht to re-examine whether or not he had practised Islam as an adult prior to becoming a Christian. During the subsequent trial, the pastor was found guilty of apostasy due to his Muslim ancestry and given three opportunities to recant, but refused on each occasion. 

Pastor Nadarkhani and his family have been waiting for a final verdict on his case since autumn 2011. 

International statements condemning his sentence continued to pour in

Pastor Nadarkhani's case has received widespread international coverage.  In since autumn 2011, statements condemning the death sentence poured in from governments and institutions around the world.  Renewed statements calling for his release have been made in the last two weeks amidst renewed fears of his imminent execution.  CSW continues to lobby for his unconditional release.

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