Photo: Courtesy of ACLJ
Nadarkhani was originally arrested in Oct. 2009 for protesting the teaching of Islam at his children’s school. His charges were later changed to apostasy and attempting to evangelize Muslims. His sentence for apostasy was execution, but after much international pressure the Iranian court system delayed the verdict, passing the case to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the nation’s supreme authority, for review.
According to a report by Lisa Daftari of Fox News, Iranian state broadcaster Press TV now claims that Nadarkani is being held for “rape” and other crimes.
News agencies began reporting last week that the order for his execution had been given, although he was still alive as of Sunday morning.
Almost the entire international community has condemned Iran for the arrest. According to Fox:
Dozens of human rights groups along with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, 89 members of Congress, and leaders from the European Union, France, Great Britain, Mexico and Germany have condemned Iran for arresting Nadarkhani and have called for his quick release.
Congress has scheduled a vote as early as Wednesday on House Resolution 556, which condemns the Iranian government and calls for the pastor’s quick release.
The outrage is spreading beyond government officials, and NGOs.
Remember Terry Jones, the Florida pastor whose threats to burn the Koran led to riots throughout the Middle East? According to Weber from the Christian Post Jones is back, and he says he will burn Korans and images of Muhammad if Iran persists in its plan to execute Nadarkhani.
Terry Jones, describes the planned burning of the Quran as a form of protest which would “obviously get Islam’s attention,” saying that Christians “cannot just stand by and do nothing.”
“We have very little that we can do as a Christian community to protest the inhumane activities of Islam,” Jones told The Christian Post.
Many observers of the Nadarkhani case believe that Iran is using him in their high-stakes diplomatic games with the West. “If a human being becomes a bargaining chip for the ayatollah, that’s not a situation that will lead to anything positive,” said Jordan Sekulow a lawyer and advocate for the rights of religious people at the American centre for Law and Justice
We’ll keep you informed on any updates on the Nadarkhani case.
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