“Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” Matthew 5:11-12
Iranian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani was arrested and sentenced to execution by hanging for refusing to recant his Christian beliefs and apostatizing from Islam. After considerable international pressure (finally) began denouncing and condemning Iran’s actions, now the charges are being changed. “Iran said on Saturday that Christian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani was sentenced to death for rape, not for the crime of abandoning Islam.”“His crime is not, as some claim, converting others to Christianity,” Gholomali Rezvani, the Gilan province deputy governor, told Farsn news agency. “He is guilty of security-related crimes.” (source)
Of course, the only problem is the record of Pastor Youcef’s trial that doesn’t hint at any sexual crimes and explicitly mentions only the religious “crimes.” A December 2010 court ruling issued and signed by Supreme Court judges Morteza Fazel and Azizoallah Razaghi mentions the religious charges against Nadarkhani and nothing more.
“Mr. Youcef Nadarkhani, son of Byrom, 32 years old, married, born in Rasht in the state of Gilan, is convicted of turning his back on Islam, the greatest religion the prophesy of Mohammad at the age of 19,” the document states.
You can read the full release here.
Please continue to pray for Pastor Youcef and the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ.