Yousef Nadarkhani, the Church of Iran pastor acquitted of apostasy in 2012, has been charged with “acting against national security.”
Pastor Nadarkhani was summoned to the 13th Branch of the Revolutionary Court in Rasht on 24 July, where he was charged and released, but was given a week to raise 100 million Touman (approximately $43,000) in bail or face arrest. He was also accused of being Zionist and informed that he had no right to evangelise.
On 13 May, the pastor and his wife, Tina Pasandide Nadarkhani, were arrested after Iranian Security Service (VEVAK) officers raided their home in Rasht as part of a series of raids targeting approximately ten Christian households. While they were released immediately, three members of their congregation, Mohammadreza Omidi (Youhan), Yasser Mossayebzadeh and Saheb Fadaie, were detained in Lakan Prison near Rasht and released after posting bail. The three men are yet to be informed of the charges levelled against them.
Pastor Nadarkhani was initially arrested in 2009 after going to his children’s school to question the Muslim monopoly of religious education for children, which he felt was unconstitutional. He was charged with apostasy and sentenced to death in 2010, a decision that was upheld by the Supreme Court in 2011. On 8 September 2012, he was released from prison following his acquittal on apostasy charges, but was found guilty on charges of evangelising. The pastor was recalled to prison on 25 December 2012 to complete the remainder of his three-year sentence, and was released once again on 7 December 2013.
Source: Christian Solidarity Worldwide
- Pray the Lord will uphold Pastor Nadarkhani, his family and his church during this time of uncertainty and distress. May the Lord give them a peace which passes all understanding and a willingness to trust Him.
- Pray the charges against Pastor Nadarkhani, Mohammadreza Omidi, Yasser Mossayebzadeh and Saheb Fadaie will be dismissed.
- Pray the government of Iran will uphold its obligations to respect the right of its citizens to freedom of religion or belief as outlined in its own constitution.