Execution of Iranian Pastor Delayed

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

By Joseph C. DeCaro, Worthy News Correspondent

TEHRAN, Iran (Worthy News)-- The execution of an Iranian pastor sentenced to death for apostasy from Islam has been delayed.

The Rev. Youcef Nadarkhani, who led the largest church network in Rasht, Iran, was arrested Oct. 13 after objecting to Christian school students, including his own, being forced by the state to read the Qu'ran. After a recent trial in the Gilan Province's Assize Court, Nadarkhani was originally sentenced to be executed on Oct. 24.

However, a formal verdict was not delivered by the court and security officials have informed the courts to temporarily delay the pastor's execution until further notice, according to Jason DeMars of "Present Truth Ministries".

"He is currently under a sentence of death," said DeMars, "but they are delaying the delivery of the verdict in order to put more pressure on him to turn away from Christ. Once the written verdict is delivered, there will be 20 days to appeal to the Supreme Court."

Nadarkhani is thought to be held in the security prison in Lakan, Iran, where he has been pressured to recant his Christianity and return to Islam, but if Nadarkhani is finally executed, it would be the first judicial execution of a Christian in Iran for 20 years.

Nadarkhani is the father of two children under the age of ten.