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Iran condemns former Muslim pastor to death

Written By : Wintery Knight
February 23, 2012

Here’s an article from Fox News about Iran’s prosecution of a former Muslim.

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Excerpt:

Germany’s top human rights official is urging Iran to release a pastor sentenced to death for converting to Christianity.

Markus Loening said Wednesday the German government is extremely concerned about Yusuf Naderkhani’s fate amid reports of his imminent execution.

Loening urged Tehran to “release Naderkhani, lift his death sentence and grant him a fair trial.”
He says an execution also breaches international obligations guaranteeing religious freedom.

Naderkhani, who is in his early 30s, converted to Christianity when he was 19 and later became a pastor in the Iranian city of Rasht. He was convicted of apostasy in 2010.

The U.S. government called for his release last year and Germany summoned the Iranian ambassador to protest Naderkhani’s continued imprisonment.

Germany is not the only one trying to do something to free the convicted Iranian pastor.

Excerpt:

Lawmakers in Congress have joined the fight to save an Iranian Christian pastor who has been sentenced to death for refusing to renounce his faith.

A resolution sponsored by Rep. Joseph Pitts (R-PA) denounces Iran for its leaders’ ruling of apostasy against Youcef Nadarkhani and calls for his immediate release.

“Iran has become more isolated because of their drive for nuclear weapons, and the fundamentalist government has stepped up persecution of religious minorities to deflect criticism,” Pitts told FoxNews.com. “The persecuted are their own citizens whose only crime is practicing their faith.”

Nadarkhani was born to a Muslim family and admits that he was introduced to the teachings of Islam, but claims he never accepted the faith. The charge of apostasy, which in Iran carries the death penalty, is leveled at those who abandon their faith.

Pitts introduced the measure on Friday and so far has the support of seven other members. Nearly 90 members of Congress previously signed a letter supporting Nadarkhani.

Nadarkhani, who also held house church services in Iran, was facing execution after being convicted of apostasy in November of 2010, but appealed his conviction all the way up to the Iranian Supreme Court. That trial was held in the Gilan Provence last September, when he refused to renounce his Christianity. Nadarkhani has been detained for a total of 858 days.

It would be nice if the President or the United Nations had something to say about this, but I don’t think they will.

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