IRAN: Critical 24 hours to stop execution of Pastor Nadarkhani  27/09/2011

CSW is urgently calling for action on behalf of Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani who faces execution after refusing to renounce his faith during this week's court hearing.

Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani refuses to renounce his Christian faith

Pastor Nadarkhani is currently on trial in Rasht. He has appeared in court three times this week and each time has refused to renounce his faith when asked to do so by the court. If he continues to refuse,  he could be executed any time from Thursday onwards

Why?

Pastor Nadarkhani was arrested in October 2009 while attempting to register his church. He was tried and found guilty of apostasy (abandoning Islam) in September 2010. He has been sentenced to death.

The Supreme Court recently asked for a re-examination of his case to establish whether or not he had been a practising Muslim adult before he converted to Christianity. However, the court ruled he wasn't a practising Muslim, but is still guilty of apostasy because he has Muslim ancestry.

The death sentence isn't specifically prescribed for apostasy under Iranian law so the Rasht court used a loophole in the constitution and based their verdict on fatwas (religious rulings) by the “father” of Iran's revolution in 1979, currently Iran's most influential religious leader.

Time is of the essence. Please take action today.

CSW is calling for urgent prayer and action on behalf of Pastor Nadarkhani today.  Please email the Iranian embassy as soon as you can, urging them not to go ahead with the execution following the trial.

Please also continue to urgently pray for Pastor Nadarkhani and his family using the prayer points below.

Please pray:

- For God to stay the hand and change the hearts of the Iranian judiciary, that they would reconsider the death sentence handed down.
- That the international community would swiftly take decisive and effective action on behalf of Pastor Nadarkhani.
- That God would uphold Pastor Nadarkhani.
- For peace, strength and comfort for Pastor Nadarkhani's family.
- For wisdom and eloquencefor Pastor Nadarkhani's lawyer who is also facing legal difficulties.
- That God would comfort members of Pastor Nadarkhani's church and denomination.
- That Iranian Christians would not be bound by fear and would keep their eyes fixed firmly on God. 

Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) is a human rights organisation which specialises in religious freedom, works on behalf of those persecuted for their Christian beliefs and promotes religious liberty for all.

For more information, please call 0845 456 5464, email admin@csw.org.uk or visit www.csw.org.uk