Yousef Nadarkhani sentenced to death for apostasy

Yousef Nadarkhani sentenced to death for apostasy

Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani, a convert from a Muslim background, has been sentenced to death for “apostasy”.

Just one Christian leader has been executed for apostasy in Iran: Hossein Soodmand, who was hanged in Mashhad in December 1990.

Yousef, who has been in Rasht Prison for 14 months, was sentenced by Branch 11 of the Gilan Provincial Court on 22 September.

Yousef, who is 35 years old, converted at the age of 19 and is a pastor with the “Church of Iran” group.

His lawyer, Mohammad Seifzadeh, who has filed an appeal with the Supreme Court, noted that under Iran’s Islamic Penal Code, apostasy is “not defined as a crime” and therefore “should not be treated as such”.

In an interview with Radio Farda, he said: “Some courts and a few judges act according to Article 167 of the Constitution, which gives judges the right to refer to jurisprudence in cases of ambiguity – such as with the issue of apostasy.

“But, in principle, given the fact that this law is not recognised in the Islamic Penal Code, we cannot therefore refer to jurisprudence under Article 167 of the Constitution. Therefore, those who, according to jurisprudence, determine the punishment of apostasy for those accused of such things, have certainly acted contrary to the law.”

Below is a copy of the court order, courtesy of the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran:

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