Stop Fundamentalism – Iranian Christian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, a leading church figure in Iran has been condemned to death by the Iranian government and his death sentence could be carried out imminently.
Nadarkhani who is 30 years old, became the pastor of the evangelical community in Iran when he converted to Christianity from Islam at the age of 19, reports AFP.
He was arrested and charged with apostasy in 2009 and was later sentenced to death by the Iranian regime Judiciary.
Nadarkhani’s death sentence was first dropped by Iran’s Supreme Court back in July but it was once again reinstated by a local court at his hometown in Gilan province.
British Foreign Secretary William Hague on Wednesday said he “deplored” reports that Iran was about to execute the pastor after he refused to give up Christianity and return to Islam, reported AFP. Hague urged the Iranian regime to respect its international human rights commitments and overturn the ruling.
Hague said in a statement, “I pay tribute to the courage shown by pastor Nadarkhani.”
Also the German Government Human Rights Commissioner Markus Löning said in a statement, “I was appalled to hear that Youcef Nadarkhani is at risk of being executed. His only chance to escape a death sentence is to recant his Christian belief.”
Löning reminded the Iranian regime of its commitments to international law to respect religious minorities which includes the right to choose and practice one’s faith. He appealed to the Iranian regime authorities to reverse the death sentence and to ensure that Mr. Nadarkhani is released without delay.
Löning urged Iran to abolish the death penalty all together.
In Washington, Congressman John Boehner said that,”Religious freedom is a universal human right,” in a statement. He continued, “The reports that Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani will be sentenced to death by the Iranian government unless he disavows his Christian faith are distressing for people of every country and creed.”
He urged Iran’s leaders in his statement, to spare Yousef Nadarkhani’s life and grant him a full and unconditional release.