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Thursday, 6 October 2011

The Iranian State Lying Machine - charges against pastor suddenly change

Pastor Youcef and family

Pakistani's Western neighbour, Iran has been in the news recently because of the death sentence handed down to a Christian Pastor - Youcef Nadarkhani - for apostasy.
Firstly, the BPCA would like to add it's voice to those speaking up for our brother in Christ. This sentence is a travesty and shows what a mockery of the term 'justice' Iran's legal system really is. We suggest that readers in the UK take note of the things mentioned below, and then do something about it. (Hint, the Iranian embassy telephone number is 020 7225 3000 and there is a petition for contacting the embassy on the matter here).
There are conflicting reports as to whether a death sentence for apostasy is actually legal under Iranian jurispudence. Regardless of this issue, let's follow some of the events in the case
1). A Christian pastor is arrested in 2009 for apostasy and for Christian activities (holding church services and baptising people).
2) In the various convoluted back and forth between various courts, a key issue was whether he was ever legitimately a Muslim in the first place. Assurances were given that the apostasy charge would not apply if he was found not to have been a Muslim. The key issue was the period between the age of 15 (when he is deemed to be of a responsible age in Iranian law) and 19 when he converted to Christianity. Did he live as a practising Muslim? Witnesses said no, he didn't.
3) Suddenly this didn't matter. Because he had Muslim ancestry, he was still declared guilty of apostasy and sentenced to death. Then the international outcry began.
4) In the last few days the already condemned pastor faces intense and long grilling, with legal experts fearing the authorities are going on a 'fishing expedition' to get him to say words that can be used to further incriminate him, and simultaneously Iranian state media and government officials claim that
a) that this is all a western media plot to discredit Iran, and that there were never any convictions for apostasy (despite the legal / trial documents clearly showing otherwise), and
b) that the Pastor had actually been arrested for 'serious crimes against security' because he is a 'Zionist' (and therefore apparently a spy and traitor), that he is found guilty of 'rape and extortion' and that he has been 'running a brothel' and is involved in the sex slave trade etc (again although the legal / trial documents show no mention of these charges)

Just like the Asia Bibi case in Pakistan, the allegedly 'superior' Islamic judiciary cases have been shown to be anything but - corrupt, contemptuous and devoid of truth.

In the case of Asia Bibi, if you have not already, don't forget to sign our petition

And in the case of Pastor Youcef, there is a petition (not by us - by CSW) here :

And to voice your concern more strongly, ring the Iranian embassy on 020 7225 3000

And while you are at it, you can ring the Pakistan embassy about Asia Bibi on 020 7664 9200

Remember both Asia and Youcef in your prayers, and don't forget also to pray for Pastor Youcef's lawyer, Mohammed Ali Dadkhah, who himself is appealing against a 9 year prison sentence imposed on him for his sterling work in defending human rights (of course, the charges weren't quite put like that.....)

Useful sources of info

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