Youcef Nadarkhani’s Written Verdict Delivered

Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani

There has been a development in the case of our Brother Youcef Nadarkhani.  We understand that the written ruling from the Supreme Court has finally been delivered to Youcef’s attorney. This ruling is in response to the appeal lodged against the death sentence delivered by a lower court.  We have not seen a translation yet, but Iranian sources are telling us that it does not annul the death sentence. According to one source the Supreme Court has agreed with the verdict “as it is based on fatwas of Ayatollahs Khomeiny , Khamenei and Makarem Shirazi”.(For those who do not know, a fatwa is a ruling concerning Islamic law.  Ayatollah Khomeiny was the first Supreme leader of Iran, and is considered the father of the revolution.  Ayatollah Khamenei is the current supreme leader, while Ayatollah Shirazi is one of the most influential religious teachers in Iran.)

The source revealed, “While agreeing with the death sentence, the Supreme Court pointed out procedural flaws and is asking the lower court to re-examine the case. This is the only binding point of the ruling.”

It has been asked, “Is there a guarantee that Youcef will not be executed between now and the time of the re-examination?” According to one Iranian source it seems there is no such guarantee.
It appears that although the written ruling upholds the death sentence, the judges would like clarification from the lower court that Brother Youcef truly was a Muslim prior to becoming a Christian.   If he was, and does not recant, then he must be executed.  However if he was not, the verdict of the lower court is not appropriate for this case.
According to the written verdict of the lower court, Youcef said that he never really believed or genuinely practiced Islam. He says he was simply born into a Muslim family but did not accept it himself.  Despite this statement the death sentence was still applied.  After re-examing this point the judges in Rasht have the freedom to decide to:1.     Execute him
2.     Release him.
3.     To hold another trial.At this point, the most likely outcome appears to be a re-trial later this year, perhaps in the fall.  It is important to remember that the Supreme Court did not annul the verdict that was based upon the fatwas of the Supreme Leader.  Brother Youcef remains under the death sentence at this time.Dear brothers and sisters in the faith, we would like to let you know how encouraged we are at Present Truth Ministries by the developments in Iran.  We believe we are beginning to see the answers to your prayers on behalf of our Brother and his family.  We know that the Devil walks about as a roaring lion, seeking who he can devour.  Resist him in the faith, and stand before the Lord for brother Youcef.  Keep writing letters, speaking to your elected officials and the representatives of Iran in your country.  Most importantly, keep bringing your requests to God, for He is able to do far more than we can even ask or think.

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Jason DeMars

Brother Jason DeMars, is an author, preacher and a missionary that plants churches in the Middle East. He travels extensively to the Middle East, but resides full time in Crystal, Minnesota where he lives with his wife Amy and two daughters, Avery and Mina.
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