IRAN: DEATH SENTENCE FOR APOSTASY REPORTEDLY UPHELD FOR PASTOR NADARKHANI
June 30, 2011: Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) reported that the death sentence handed down in 2010 for the crime of apostasy, to evangelical pastor Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani, was reportedly upheld by the third chamber of the Supreme Court in the Shia holy city of Qom.
Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani of the Church of Iran was arrested in his home city of Rasht on October 13, 2009 while attempting to register his church. His arrest is believed to have been due to his questioning of the Muslim monopoly on the religious instruction of children in Iran. He was initially charged with protesting, however the charges against him were later changed to apostasy and evangelising Muslims. Pastor Nadarkhani has been held in Lakan prison since that time.
He was tried and found guilty on September 22, 2010 by the 1st Court of the Revolutionary Tribunal. The pastor's lawyer filed an appeal on December 5, 2010. However, following a 6-month wait for an appeal hearing, the lawyer has confirmed that the appeal was unsuccessful, although so far there has been no official notification of this failure.
Pastor Nadarkhani had been imprisoned previously in December 2006, on charges of apostasy and evangelism, but was released two weeks later in January 2007. (Sources: http://au.christiantoday.com, 30/06/2011)