July 10th, 2012
02:42 AM ET

State Dept: Release pastor jailed for 1,000 days, sentenced to death in Iran

It has been more than 1,000 days since a Christian pastor was thrown into an Iranian jail for leaving Islam and sentenced to death for, as the U.S. State Department put it, "simply following his faith."

On Monday, the agency once again called on Iran to release Youcef Nadarkhani.

"Pastor Nadarkhani still faces the threat of execution for simply following his faith, and we repeat our call for Iranian authorities to release him immediately," said a statement from State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland.

His next scheduled court date is September 8.

Nadarkhani, born to Muslim parents in the northern Iranian town of Rasht, converted to Christianity when he was 19.

Later he was ordained as a minister and led a network of house churches in Iran.

He was arrested in October 2009 after he lodged a protest with local education officials after learning his child was being forced to read from the Quran, the Muslim holy book, in school.

He was charged with apostasy and convicted in a provincial court - which sentenced him to death.

He appealed, and during a trial in a lower court, refused to recant his beliefs.

The case made its way to the Supreme Court, which said Nadarkhani's sentence could be overturned if he recanted. The 34-year-old pastor has refused.

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Filed under: Iran • Religion • U.S. • World
soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. two guys wearing black ties riding bikes

    so your telling me its a bad idea hocking the Watchtower door to door in Iran... .

    July 10, 2012 at 3:23 am | Report abuse |
  2. two guys wearing black ties riding bikes

    so your telling me its a bad idea going door to door in Iran with the watch tower in hand... .?

    July 10, 2012 at 3:27 am | Report abuse |
  3. alheal my dad

    accidental mushroom cloud.

    July 10, 2012 at 3:36 am | Report abuse |
  4. Mickey1313

    While what iran is doing is bad, we, the us, have no right to but into other nations affairs. What about the thousands of falsly imprisoned in china, heck what about the people imprisoned in this nation under the illigal patriot act.

    July 10, 2012 at 3:49 am | Report abuse |
    • Rascal Rabble

      religious freedom doesn't mean much too yah...

      July 10, 2012 at 10:55 am | Report abuse |
    • Mickey1313

      Rr, that is an american freedom, not a freedom in an islamic state. We are not world police.

      July 10, 2012 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Piers Morgan, Supervillain

      That's bad logic. That's like saying that if you have sinned, should you not try alert an officer to stop a car thief you see breaking into a car, because, hey, who are you to tell them to stop? Nobody's perfect, and certainly no country is perfect, but that doesn't mean we should just quietly worry only about what happens within these borders.

      July 10, 2012 at 6:38 pm | Report abuse |
  5. saywhat

    There is no temporal penalty prescribed anywhere in the Koran for Apostasy. If one reads the Koran, which is the Divine Law for muslims just like the Prophet and the Law (Old testament) for Jews and Christians, from page to page, nowhere would one find capital punishment for Apostasy. Quite to the contrary.
    The Koran' 2:256,18:29,88:21-22,13:40,16:125, more specifically 4:137 and 3:86-89.

    July 10, 2012 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
  6. saywhat

    How do some muslim countries let this un-Islamic rule prevail is beyond me. They study the life and teachings of prophet Mohammad and yet digress from his teachings. In one of the many of his sayings he warned" There will be those after I'm gone who would quote my sayings. Always refer to the Koran to see if those are in any way contrary to what has been laid down".
    I researched when I read the above article.

    July 10, 2012 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |
  7. james ainoris

    At one time Moslems were the most tollerant educated people . The Moors brought advanced mathematics and medicine into goofy europe... who were busy torturing and killing Jews who relapsed . The Moslems under Salidin were freinds with Jews... and it was the christians who were evil.... Saladin put the Jews back in Israel were he said they belong after winning second crusade agaisnt evil richard the lion hearted... In Persia (Iran) King Cyrus also put the Jews back in Israel and helped start building Solomons temple. Only if today Moslems and Christians And Jews (who most often were the victims of violence and oppression under both) could somehow see that we are all children of G-d ...the G-d of Abraham...only the coming of Mosiach can solve this ... Shalom james ainoris

    July 11, 2012 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |