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ICC Note:
Middle East Concern mobilizes prayer for Iranian pastor Yousef Nadarkhani who received a death sentence for apostasy in September 2010.
9/15/2011 Iran (Middle East Concern) – Further intercession has been requested for Iranian pastor, Yousef Nadarkhani who received a death sentence for apostasy (i.e. leaving Islam) in September 2010. Recall that he appealed to the Supreme Court who instructed the Revolutionary Tribunal of Gilan Province to review the case, specifically to verify whether Yousef was previously a practising Muslim. Yousef claims that, although raised in a Muslim home, he was never a Muslim by choice, conviction, belief or consistent practice, and that he should therefore not be regarded as an apostate.
It is reported that the first hearing has been scheduled for 25th September.
If the Tribunal concludes that Yousef was previously a Muslim and so is now an apostate, the Supreme Court’s ruling makes clear that he should then be executed, unless he recants his faith in Jesus as Saviour and Lord.
Recall that Yousef is a pastor within the Full Gospel ‘Church of Iran’ denomination in the northern city of Rasht. He has been detained in prison since October 2009. Yousef and his wife, Fatemeh, have two young sons, aged 9 and 7. Fatemeh was detained for four months in 2010.
Another ‘Church of Iran’ member, Behnam, has been detained in Karaj since 31st May. Five others, for whom we requested prayer in April, have been summoned to serve a one-year sentence in Shiraz, following unsuccessful appeals against the sentence passed in March. They are considering how to respond to the summons.
We are pleased to report that two believers, Vahid and Reza from Tabriz, were released on bail on 21st August, having been detained on 15th July. Other believers remain detained for their faith in Iran. There is no further news of Noorallah from Dezfool, Farshid in Tehran, or Leila in Tehran, all of whom remain detained.
Iranian Christians thank us for our prayers. They request our continued intercession that:
a.  Yousef will be declared not to be an apostate, or that the death sentence will otherwise be lifted
b.  Yousef will remain firm in his faith and know the presence and peace of Jesus each day
c.  His wife, Fatemeh, and their two sons will know the comfort and hope of Jesus, and that the family will be reunited soon
d.  Others detained for their faith, including Noorallah, Farshid, Leila and Behnam, will know the presence, peace and provision of Jesus, and be released soon
e.  The five summoned to prison in Shiraz will know the Spirit’s wisdom and guidance at this time
f.  Vahid and Reza will know the Lord’s presence, healing, and restoration following their release from prison
g.  Christians throughout Iran will not be intimidated but will know the Lord’s enabling and guidance
h.  All officials involved will love mercy, act justly, learn about Jesus and choose to follow Him

[Middle East Concern]