Via The Christian Post
Abba Father, our merciful God...my Daddy....You are so wonderful! Daddy I don't always understand your ways, but I do understand that according to Your word, your thoughts are higher than mine & your ways higher than my ways. Father you warned us that persecution for our faith in your beloved Son was going to happen. And it has. For some, you have willed them to be martyrs, not renouncing their faith in You even though it took their life. But for others you have allowed them to survive through persecution. In death & in life, it is ALL for YOUR glory! Daddy thank you for granting favor on your servant Youcef by having the Supreme Court overturn his death sentence. But Lord now they want him to renounce his "conversion" to living a life for YOU! God I pray that you would continue to protect him as he will NOT be renouncing your awesomeness, your love, your mercy, your longsuffering, your forgiveness, your SALVATION IN WHICH YOU SAVED HIM FROM HIS SINS & THE WRATH OF A HOLY GOD. Father I pray that every single person involved from his arrest to the lower court who is against Youcef- SAVE THEM JESUS! Reveal yourself to every single one of them so that they may come to know the grace of God in Christ Jesus our Lord! Lord we pray that you BLESS 'our' enemies. Those enemies are those who come against your Body. We pray for their salvation. I lift up Youcef's wife & children who have been going through a roller coaster of emotions & faith. Strengthen them, strengthen your people in Iran who are being increasingly oppressed just as You have said would happen. Lord give them wisdom on what to say, do, how to behave around those who would turn their backs on them in an instant. We serve the only God who is greater than the strongest & smartest scholar, judge, lawyer, ruler......YOU have the say-so. I ask humbly that you would continue to work in protection & favor over Youcef, his family, his lawyer & his family, & all the believers in Iran. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven, in the precious name that is above every name, Jesus.
An Iranian pastor who was handed the death sentence for apostasy is no longer on death row, his lawyer said Sunday.
- (Photo: ACLJ)
Iran’s Supreme Court overturned the death sentence of Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani of the northern city of Rasht, attorney Mohammad Ali Dadkhah told Agence France-Presse. Just days earlier, human rights groups had reported that the Supreme Court had found Nadarkhani guilty of apostasy and upheld the death penalty ruling by a lower court.
Nadarkhani, who was arrested in October 2009, converted from Islam to Christianity in his late teens. The now 32-year-old evangelical house church pastor was first arrested for protesting against Christian children being forced to participate in Muslim religiouseducation in school. Then last year he was sentenced to death for apostasy.
“The Supreme Court has annulled the death sentence and sent the case back to the court in Rasht (his hometown), asking the accused to repent,” said attorney Dadkhah.
“Repent” in the eyes of Islamic sharia law means Pastor Nadarkhani should renounce his conversion.
Pastor Nadarkhani’s lawyer said he has only heard the Supreme Court ruling read to him over the phone and he needs to go to Rasht to read it for himself. Lawyer Dadkhah is himself facing 9 years in prison, which a Tehran court handed him on Sunday for “actions and propaganda against the Islamic regime,” according to AFP. He is also barred from practicing law for ten years.
Dadkhah thinks the sentence is a result of his work with the Center for the Defense of Human Rights and for doing interviews with foreign media. He has 20 days to file an appeal.
The situation of the evangelical church is said to be “dire” in Iran, with the government intensifying its crackdown on Christian leaders.
On January 4, the governor general of Tehran, Morteza Tamadon, reportedly declared that the “final blow towards [Christians] is imminent” and denounced evangelical churches as “false, deviant and corrupt sects.”
Mansour Borji, a pastor of the Iranian Church in London, told the European Parliament’s Iran Delegation in February that there were 202 Christians known to have been arrested and detained since June 2010.
And in 2009, Iranian authorities ordered the country’s largest church that gives public services to stop its Friday prayer gatherings or risk being shut down completely. Several other churches were also victims of the government’s aggressive campaign against the church.
Iran's constitution states that Islam is the official state religion and provides that Christians, Jews, and Zoroastrians are recognized as "protected" religious minorities. Despite the protected status, in practice non-Shia Muslims face discrimination and the government severely restricts freedom of religion, according to the U.S. Department of State’s 2009 International Religious Freedom Report.