Despite Headlines, No Evidence of New Trial for Iranian Pastor

By:  Dave Bohon
10/17/2011
       
Despite Headlines, No Evidence of New Trial for Iranian Pastor

There has been a series of varying reports on the latest news concerning 32-year-old Iranian pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, who had been condemned to death by an Iranian court for refusing to renounce his Christian faith. According to Baptist Press News, Reuters News Service had reported on October 11 that Iran’s Supreme Court had sent the case back to the original court that had tried him, ruling that there had been insufficient investigation into the charges against the pastor. “The court will issue a new verdict,” Reuters reported, citing the Iranian Student’s News Agency (ISNA) as its source.

In another October 11 story, Agence France-Presse reported that Nadarkhani would face a retrial on the original charge of apostasy against Islam. “In its statement, the supreme court noted it had quashed the initial conviction and sentencing ‘due to a technicality in the investigation,’” AFP reported.

Jordan Sekulow of the American Center for Law and Justice, which has been monitoring Nadarkhani’s case since it appeared that the pastor’s execution was imminent, said the news coming out of Iran is most likely months old and does not offer firm evidence of a new trial for the pastor. “While it is possible that this is a new development at the urging of the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, we have no confirmation of this from Pastor Youcef’s attorney in Iran,” wrote Sekulow. “More likely, it is rehashing of old news. As we have been reporting, the Supreme Court of Iran had heard his case earlier this year and remanded it to the trial court to determine if Pastor Youcef was a Muslim after reaching the age of majority before converting to Islam.”

There has been a series of varying reports on the latest news concerning 32-year-old Iranian pastor Youcef Nadarkhani (pictured), who had been condemned to death by an Iranian court for refusing to renounce his Christian faith. According to Baptist Press News, Reuters News Service had reported on October 11 that Iran’s Supreme Court had sent the case back to the original court that had tried him, ruling that there had been insufficient investigation into the charges against the pastor. “The court will issue a new verdict,” Reuters reported, citing the Iranian Student’s News Agency (ISNA) as its source.

In another October 11 story, Agence France-Presse reported that Nadarkhani would face a retrial on the original charge of apostasy against Islam. “In its statement, the supreme court noted it had quashed the initial conviction and sentencing ‘due to a technicality in the investigation,’” AFP reported.

Jordan Sekulow of the American Center for Law and Justice, which has been monitoring Nadarkhani’s case since it appeared that the pastor’s execution was imminent, said the news coming out of Iran is most likely months old and does not offer firm evidence of a new trial for the pastor. “While it is possible that this is a new development at the urging of the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, we have no confirmation of this from Pastor Youcef’s attorney in Iran,” wrote Sekulow. “More likely, it is rehashing of old news. As we have been reporting, the Supreme Court of Iran had heard his case earlier this year and remanded it to the trial court to determine if Pastor Youcef was a Muslim after reaching the age of majority before converting to Islam.”

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Photo: Youcef Nadarkhani

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