Saturday, March 17, 2018

Iranian Pastor Nadarkhani Believed to be Dead

PastorNadarkhaniUPDATE: Jordan Sekulow of the ACLJ posted on Twitter that Pastor Nadarkhani is alive and there is an article on the ACLJ website (below).

We contacted our sources inside Iran and confirmed that the report was indeed false – Youcef is not dead, but alive and well. Several of our sources today talked directly to Pastor Youcef himself.

And, Jason DeMars of Present Truth Ministries, who was very involved in the Pastor Youcef case, also knocked down the rumor telling the news organization that published the initial report that “Youcef is alive and he is doing fine.”

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An Anglican vicar in Iraq has said that besieged Iranian Pastor Youssef Nadarkhani is dead.

Writing on his Facebook page today (Thursday, March 7), Canon Andrew White, who serves St. George’s Church in Baghdad, said he was meeting with Muslim leaders today and came home to the news of Nadarkhani’s death.

As of the time this story went to press, the news has not been independently confirmed or verified.

Canon White wrote: “A truly wonderful day with my dear, dear friend the Grand Ayatollah Hossain Al Sader. With us were many of the other Islamic leaders. We spent 4 hours together had lunch and talked about the Almighty and His love that unites us,” he writes.

“Then we returned to the terrible news that Pastor Yusif, the evangelical pastor in Iran had been killed. He had been sentenced to death many months ago. He had been given four chances to return to Islam and he had refused. He waved goodbye and went to Heaven. People will say look at how evil Islam is. It is not, and the start of today shows we love each other.”

In answer to several questions from his followers on Facebook, Canon White said: “We have all the reports, but they are in Arabic and Farsi. We even have the pictures.”

On Saturday, September 8, 2012, ASSIST News reported that after more than 1,000 days in jail, Youcef Nadarkhani — the sorely persecuted pastor who repeatedly refused to renounce his LORD — emerged a free man, unbroken.

The court acquitted Nadarkhani of apostasy, the charge for which he had been sentenced to death.

According to Mohammad-Ali Dadkhah, Nadarkhani’s lawyer, the court ‘finally accepted our argument’ that Iran’s penal code did not ‘criminalize apostasy’ (Financial Times, Sept.9). However, the court did find Nadarkhani guilty of ‘evangelizing Muslims’.

For this ‘crime’ he was sentenced to three years imprisonment but granted time served and released.

Elizabeth Kendall, author of the Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin (RLPB) 176, wrote in September last year that, “While we rejoice that Pastor Youcef (was released), enjoying the fellowship of believers and the joyful, tender warmth of his wife and sons, we must remember that Nadarkhani’s life might be more at risk now than ever.”

Iran’s penal code might not criminalize apostasy, but Islamic Sharia law does, Kendall stated.

Kendall added: “Furthermore, as this prayer ministry previously cautioned in RLPB 173, ‘by launching a new trial with unprovable accusations [extortion and banditry], the regime may be seeking to “wash its hands” publicly of Nadarkhani and release him to the Islamists and secret police while declaring itself “innocent of this man’s blood” (after the manner of Pontius Pilate in Matthew 27:24), as has happened before in Iran.’

Kendall said that furthermore, a second conviction of ‘evangelizing Muslims’ would doubtless be punished more severely than the first. “We must also remember that numerous Iranian Christians remain in prison, including Pastor Behnam Irani (41; married, with two children) who is gravely ill,” she said.

Representatives of two ministries working in the region said they had no news on Nadarkhani’s situation.

ASSIST News is actively trying to verify with other sources inside Iran whether or not Youssef is still alive or has been killed.

ASSIST News will continue to publish further details as they are obtained

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