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Pray for Pastor Nadarkhani after court reportedly issues execution order

Country/Region: Iran, Middle East and North Africa

Barnabas statement on Nadarkhani case

Youcef Nardakhani-4X3.jpg
Pastor Nadarkhani has repeatedly refused to renounce his faith

Supporters of Iranian pastor Youcef Nadarkhani fear that he could be executed at any time after a court reportedly issued its final verdict, ordering that he be put to death for apostasy.

Jordan Sekulow, executive director of the American Center for Law and Justice, which has been heavily involved in the case, said that he was told on Monday 20 February by Mr Nadarkhani’s legal team that the final execution order had been made.

Once this has been officially confirmed, his lawyers would, according to Iranian law, have a final opportunity to object. But Iran has previously carried out death sentences without notification, as happened in the case of Christian pastor Hossein Soodmand in 1990.

Pastor Nadarkhani was confirmed alive as of early Sunday (26 February).

International condemnation

The White House and the US State Department both issued strongly-worded statements condemning the reported execution order and calling for the pastor’s release.

Following reports of the court’s decision – and international backlash against it – the Iranian government said that no execution order had been announced, and repeated their earlier assertion that Pastor Nadarkhani was not being held for apostasy but for rape and “other crimes”.

It is feared that as Iran comes under mounting international pressure over its nuclear agenda, the pastor’s case may become embroiled in wider political negotiations. The number of executions in Iran has increased significantly in the last month as the country suffers crippling sanctions.

Pastor Nadarkhani was formally sentenced to death for apostasy in November 2010. At an appeal hearing last September, he repeatedly refused to renounce his faith in order to secure an annulment of the charge of apostasy and lifting of the death sentence.

The court then referred the case to the country’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Hosseini Khamenei, in October, but he has not issued a ruling. Now, only he and Sadegh Larijani, head of the Iranian Judiciary, have the authority to stop the pastor’s execution.

Please Pray:
  • That the Iranian authorities will not execute Pastor Nadarkhani. Pray that he will instead be set free and allowed to resume his life in peace.
  • That the rights of religious minorities to practice their faith freely in Iran will be upheld, as per the country’s commitments to international agreements.
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  • On this Good Friday, give thanks to God for the death of Christ and for His gift of eternal life. Praise Him too for the example of those Christians who have persevered in their faith at the risk of their lives and who have made the ultimate sacrifice for the sake of Christ and the Gospel. Pray that their martyrdom will inspire their suffering brothers and sisters in Christ to endure whatever hardships befall them and will convince their persecutors of the truth and power of the Gospel. Pray too that their bereaved families and churches will not grieve without hope (1 Thessalonians 4:13). Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed 12 hours ago

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  • Lift up to the Lord persecuted Christians in Sri Lanka, where at least 65 anti-Christian incidents took place during 2013, including repeat attacks on several believers and their property in October 2013. However, a Sri Lankan government minister from a Buddhist nationalist party denied the accounts, saying that they might be “made up”. The minister claimed that Sri Lankans are “one family … trying to live together after a long civil war”. Pray that the Sri Lankan government will recognise the danger that our brothers and sisters face from militant Buddhists and that the authorities will provide effective protection for vulnerable Christians. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Mon, Apr 2014 00:00

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