Where are the British protests over Pastor Nadarkhani?
Published in: Daily Mail
The brutal regime in Iran continues to inflict appalling levels of barbarity upon its own citizens.
A Christian pastor, Youcef Nadarkhani, aged 35 and the father of two children, has been sentenced to death for apostasy, a crime for which he was jailed two years ago. But this savage punishment is far worse even than it seems. For Nadarkhani is deemed to have committed apostasy merely because he has Islamic ancestry. Whether he was ever actually a practising Muslim was not even established. The Washington Post reported:
‘The 11th branch of Iran’s Gilan Provincial Court has determined that Nadarkhani has Islamic ancestry and therefore must recant his faith in Jesus Christ. Iran’s supreme court had previously ruled that the trial court must determine if Youcef had been a Muslim before converting to Christianity.
‘However, the judges, acting like terrorists with a hostage, demanded that he recant his faith in Christ before even taking evidence. The judges stated that even though the judgment they have made is against the current Iranian and international laws, they have to uphold the previous decision of the 27th Branch of the Supreme Court in Qom.’
Now the Iranian authorities have claimed he is to be executed not for apostasy at all but for a slew of other crimes. As CNN reports:
‘Gholomali Rezvani, the deputy governor of Gilan province, where Nadarkhani was tried and convicted, accused Western media of twisting the real story, referring to him as a "rapist." A previous report from the news agency claimed he had committed several violent crimes, including repeated rape and extortion. "His crime is not, as some claim, converting others to Christianity," Rezvani told Fars. "He is guilty of security-related crimes."
‘In a translated Iranian Supreme Court brief from 2010, however, the charge of apostasy is the only charge leveled against Nadarkhani. "Mr. Youcef Nadarkhani, son of Byrom, 32-years old, married, born in Rasht in the state of Gilan is convicted of turning his back on Islam, the greatest religion the prophesy of Mohammad at the age of 19," reads the brief.’
‘... "No one is executed in Iran for their choice of religion," [Rezvani] added. "He is a Zionist and has committed security-related crimes." ‘
It is obvious that, faced with mounting outrage around the world – there have been protests from the White House, for example -- the Iranian regime has resorted to trumping up spurious accusations against a man they are persecuting on account of his Christian faith. By seeking to deny the verdict of apostasy that was handed down two years ago, they are trying to conceal above all that Pastor Nadarkhani has been imprisoned for two years and is sentenced to hang because of an Islamic religious precept.
In other words, this barbarism is yet another religious crime being perpetrated by the regime against an Iranian citizen for no reason other than he has transgressed the laws of Islam enforced by a fanatical regime of religious zealots.
Pastor Nadarkhani is but the latest victim of outrages against Christians and other faiths inside Iran. He has twice refused to recant his Christian belief; apparently he is to be asked to do so for a third time on Tuesday, and if he again refuses he could be hanged any time after that. It is still possible to save this man’s life if enough protest is made.
British political leaders should be making their voices heard very loudly against this barbarity by the Islamic Republic of Iran. Have you been hearing them? No, nor have I.