Christian sentenced to death but Islamic republic feeling international pressure
By Michael Carl
2/23/2012 Iran (World Net Daily) – Those in the free world who are supporting a Christian pastor condemned to death by Iranian authorities say the need is urgent for people to speak out on behalf of Youcef Nadarkhani.
The death order for Nadarkhani has been signed on charges that he left Islam for Christianity, but spokesman Gene Kapp of the American Center for Law and Justice today confirmed the pastor’s sentence has not been carried out.
“Our attorneys received confirmation that Pastor Youcef was still alive,” Kapp said.
But he said the situation is precarious for the pastor arrested in 2009 and charged with blasphemy for “leaving Islam.” International Christian Concern’s Middle East analyst Aidan Clay says death could come at any time.
“There is fear that Nadarkhani could be executed in secret any day. However, sometimes these cases are drawn out and Nadarkhani could languish in prison for months or even years,” Clay said.
However, one factor that could work against Nadarkhani is the Iranians’ desire to avoid pressure and publicity.
“Iranian officials want to avoid as much international press and condemnation as possible, meaning that Nadarkhani’s execution may occur sooner rather than later before the international community can apply additional pressure,” Clay said.
Clay added that the publicity could be keeping Nadarkhani alive.
“One reason that Nadarkhani is still alive is due to aggressive international pressure on Iran to release him. If not for the work of the ACLJ and other organizations, it’s possible that Nadarkhani’s execution would already have been carried out,” Clay said.
“Remember that in December, the Iranian judiciary decided to delay Nadarkhani’s final verdict for a year,” Clay added.
However, Clay said that the push for sanctions against Iran could be making the situation rough for the pastor.
“Crippling U.S. sanctions on the Iranian government have likely not helped Nadarkhani’s case. There is some fear that the court unexpectedly issued an execution order partly as an act of retaliation and defiance toward the U.S.,” Clay said.
However, Clay said now is not the time to back off.
“Now is the time to remain faithful in prayer and to spread awareness of Nadarkhani’s plight. As seen throughout Nadarkhani’s imprisonment, the louder the international community has spoken up, the better his situation has been,” Clay said.
“Social media like Twitter and Facebook have helped. Please join the ACLJ’s Twitter campaign at: http://aclj.org/Nadarkhani. We must defend and stand beside Nadarkhani until he is either released or executed by being ardent in prayer and to fighting against this injustice,” Clay said.