Middle East

From Death Sentence to Rape Charges, Iranian Pastor’s Case Is Rare—and Disputed

Reports differ on Nadarkhani’s status and next steps.

In response to international condemnation for Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani's death sentence, the Iranian government has changed its story.

Though Nadarkhani was found guilty and sentenced to death for apostasy in 2010, the semi-official Iranian news agency Fars News reported on September 30 that he will now be executed for Zionism, rape, and extortion. The Iranian Embassy in London also issued a statement, saying the Iranian Court of Appeals had made no official ruling in Nadarkhani's case. But Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) has official documents that prove otherwise, said Khataza Gondwe, CSW team leader in Africa and the Middle East.

"CSW is in possession of original court documents that state clearly that the charge against Pastor Nadarkhani was apostasy, and that the death sentence for apostasy was upheld by the Supreme Court," Gondwe said. "These belated efforts to fabricate unsubstantiated charges against the pastor appear to be a desperate effort to justify the passing of a sentence ...

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