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Iran Puts Off Execution of Christian Pastor

Iran has put off the execution of Christian Pastor Yousof Nadarkhani, but it is not clear for how long.
By Chana Ya'ar
First Publish: 2/27/2012, 11:44 PM

Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi discusses human rights in Geneva
Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi discusses human rights in Geneva
Reuters

Iran has put off the execution of Christian Pastor Yousof Nadarkhani -- probably in response to massive international pressure -- but it is not clear for how long.

Nadarkhani was due to be executed on Tuesday, after having lost the final appeal against a conviction on a charge of apostasy in Iran's Supreme Court.

The 33-year-old pastor converted to Christianity from being a Muslim at the age of 19, making him an apostate in the eyes of Islam.

In 2009, Nadarkhani filed a complaint with local officials over Islamic indoctrination of his children at school, contending that his children should not be forced to learn about a religion they do not practice.

He was arrested shortly thereafter and convicted of apostasy by a provincial court in Gilan, in the state of Rasht, where he and his wife and two children live. The pastor, a member of the Protestant Evangelical Church of Iran, was given a chance to recant, but refused.

According to Article 225 the Iranian penal code, “punishment for an Innate Apostate is death,” and “punishment for a Parental Apostate is death.” Shari'a (Islamic) law states the same.