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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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    • Almighty God, we pray that You will protect Your people in the Holy Land. We pray especially for the congregation of a church in Gaza City, whose church compound was attacked with a small explosive device on 26 February. We give You thanks that the church, school, nursery and pastor’s house were undamaged and that a fi re that was lit under the pastor’s car was extinguished when Christians came outside to investigate. We pray that the congregation may stand firm for You in the face of the threatening message that was written on the wall facing the church gate: “We’ll get you soon, O worshippers of the cross.” We ask that there will be no further attempt to attack this church or others in the area. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed 10 hours ago

    • Taliban militants attempted to attack a Christian-run day-care centre in Kabul, Afghanistan, on 28 March, saying it was “a church used to convert Muslims to Christianity”. The attackers mistakenly targeted the next-door building, which houses workers on an agricultural and de-mining project, instead; two Afghan civilians, one a young girl, died in the crossfi re. All five Taliban bombers were also killed in the raid on the heavily-secured compound. The day-care centre that they were attempting to target, which is used by expatriates, is said to hold Christian worship services on certain days. Ask the Lord to change the hearts of those who plan and carry out terrorist attacks against Christians and other targets in Afghanistan; pray that they will turn instead to Him. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Wed, Jul 2014 00:00

    • “He was always a light for Christ and he had a love and commitment that he expressed for the Afghan people because of that love for Christ.” The widow of Dr Jerry Umanos, an American doctor who was shot dead at the Christian-run hospital where he worked in Kabul, Afghanistan, spoke of her husband’s faith and ministry. Two visiting American Christians, father and son Gary and John Gabel, were also killed on 24 April when an Afghan security guard opened fire on the staff he was meant to be protecting. Pray for comfort for the grieving families of the three men, and ask the Lord to safeguard the future of the hospital, which provides much-needed medical care and also trains Afghan doctors and nurses. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Tue, Jul 2014 00:00

    • “We ask all Christians and members of other faiths to reconsider their own beliefs and join Hinduism.” Krishna Hari Baskota, secretary at the Office of the Prime Minister in Nepal, was speaking about the application process for a new identity card that will show citizens’ religious affiliation. Christians and members of other minorities will be subjected to greater scrutiny before obtaining the official documents and will be asked to reiterate their faith. One Christian rights activist said that the government is trying to discourage people from converting from Hinduism. Pray that the Nepalese authorities will not discriminate against Christians but will treat them on equal terms with the Hindu majority. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Mon, Jul 2014 00:00

    • Lift up to the Lord a group of Christians in Pali village, Jharkhand state, India, who were attacked by Hindu extremists on two consecutive days in an effort to force them to convert to Hinduism. On 4 March, the offenders stormed into the home of Pastor Tilas Bedia, beat the Christians present and threatened to kill them if they continued to follow Christ. The following morning, a mob dragged 15 Christians from their homes, told them to convert back to Hinduism and beat them. The pastor and two others were paraded half-naked to the outskirts of the village. Adding insult to injury, a case of forcible conversion was subsequently registered against the pastor and three other Christians. Pray that the Lord will give them all the strength to stand firm in the face of such opposition. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Sun, Jul 2014 00:00

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