Iranian Supreme Court Confirms Death Sentence?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

By Joseph DeCaro, Worthy News Correspondent

Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani and his wife Fatemah Pasindedih
TEHRAN, IRAN (Worthy News)-- The Iranian Supreme Court's ruling on the appeal against the death sentence of Youcef Nadarkhani by a lower court was finally delivered to his attorney.

Although it hasn't been translated from Farsi, Iranian sources said it didn't annul Nadarkhani's death sentence; the Supreme Court has agreed with the verdict "as it is based on fatwas of Ayatollahs Khomeiny, Khamenei and Makarem Shirazi".

However, while agreeing with the verdict of the lower courst, the Supreme Court "pointed out procedural flaws and is asking the lower court to re-examine the case"; this is the only binding point of the ruling, according to one Iranian source.

In brief, the judges requested clarification from the lower court that Nadarkhani was in fact a Muslim prior to becoming a Christian; if so and he refuses to recant, Nadarkhani may be executed.

According to the lower court, Nadarkhani said he never really believed, or genuinely practiced Islam: he was simply born into a Muslim family, but did not accept Islam himself. After re-examing this point, the judges in Rasht must decide to either execute Nadarkhani, release him or hold another trial. The most likely outcome appears to be a re-trial later this year, but as the Supreme Court didn't annul the verdict based upon the fatwas, Nadarkhani remains under a death sentence.