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(UPDATED) Iranian Pastor Nadarkhani Returned to—Then Released From—Prison

Three other Iranian pastors also remain in prison during December crackdown on house churches.

(UPDATE Jan. 7: Christian Solidarity Worldwide has reported that Church of Iran pastor Yousef Nadarkhani was released earlier today after being imprisoned again on Christmas Day.

However, his lawyer Mohammed Ali Dadkhah remains in jail for "actions and propaganda against the Islamic regime.")

Church of Iran pastor Yousef Nadarkhani was returned to prison on Christmas Day to complete the remainder of his three-year sentence–that is, 45 days of it.

In September, an Iranian court acquitted Nadarkhani of blasphemy charges, but sentenced him to three years of prison for evangelizing Muslims. Nadarkhani had already spent nearly three years in jail awaiting the verdict and was released after posting bail.

But Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW)now reports that the prison director ordered that Nadarkhani be returned to jail because the pastor "had been released several days too early due to the insistence of his lawyer, Mohammed Ali Dadkhah. The pastor has now been returned to prison to serve the remainder of this time and to complete paperwork that allegedly had not completed during his release in September."

Morning Star News reports that Nadarkhani will be released on Feb. 8.

"It appears that it is a move to harass him," Jason DeMars of Present Truth Ministries told Morning Star. "Perhaps they want him to leave the country permanently."

In addition, two other Church of Iran pastors, Behzad Taalipasand and Mohammadreza (Johann) Omidi, were detained on New Year's Eve in Rasht, Iran. CSWis reporting that the "arrests are the latest developments in a December crackdown on house churches by the Iranian government."

Meanwhile, Iran-born U.S. pastor Saeed Abedini remains imprisoned in Iran after being arrested for his faith while visiting his family in September.

CT has regularly reported on Nadarkhani, including his release. CT also examined the marketing of martyrs and whether the orthodoxy of Nadarkhani's theology impacts advocacy on his behalf.

Related Topics:Middle East
Posted:January 7, 2013 at 2:30PM
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