frgavin on October 4th, 2011

Following yesterday’s report, Pastor Nadarkhani was brought before Iran’s Supreme Court for the third time and asked to recant his faith in Christ. For the third time, he refused. His lawyer presented the final defence and we are presently awaiting further news. Sources indicate that the judges could take up to a week to issue their decision on the implementation of the death sentence. However, they reserve the right to effect execution within a shorter period of time should they so desire. There is a real concern that the death sentence could be implemented without any official announcement at all.

His Grace contacted the Foreign Office, Lambeth Palace and the Holy See about this case. William Hague responded within the hour, with the following statement:

“I deplore reports that Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, an Iranian Church leader, could be executed imminently after refusing an order by the Supreme Court of Iran to recant his faith. This demonstrates the Iranian regime’s continued unwillingness to abide by its constitutional and international obligations to respect religious freedom. I pay tribute to the courage shown by Pastor Nadarkhani who has no case to answer and call on the Iranian authorities to overturn his sentence.”

The Archbishop of Canterbury broke his silence to express ‘deep concern’ at the sentence faced by Pastor Nadarkhani, and at the persecution of all religious minorities in Iran. But despite seeking to intervene directly in the case of murderer Troy Davis, and despite being opposed in principle to the death penalty, the Holy See has not uttered a word. Iran views Evangelical Protestants as ‘corrupt and deviant‘. Does His Holiness agree?

posted byArchbishop Cranmer at 5:38 AM Permalink 50 comments

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