Iranian pastor's case returned for further investigation
Iran’s Supreme Court says the case of Yousef Nadarkhani, an Iranian pastor charged with apostasy, is incomplete.
ISNA is reporting on a Supreme Court statement indicating that Nadarkhani’s case has been sent back to the lower courts for a more complete investigation.
“After the shortcomings are eliminated and another sentence is issued,” the Supreme Court writes; “if there are any complaints, we will then issue a verdict.”
Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei, Iran’s Prosecutor General and spokesman for the judiciary, said yesterday that Nadarkhani’s case was still under investigation and no sentence had been issued.
Nadarkhani is an Iranian Baptist pastor who converted to Christianity together with his wife. In October 2009, he was arrested in the northern city of Rasht and charged with “leaving his religion” and “inviting other Muslims to Christianity.” He was also charged with “establishing a secret church and blatantly opposing Islam.”
While his wife was released in short order, he has remained in custody and, last summer, received a death sentence for apostasy. In July, the Supreme Court announced that his death sentence can be rescinded if he repents.
He has reportedly refused to give up his religion, and the news of his possible hanging has triggered international protests.
U.S. and British officials have urged Iran to reconsider the sentence and release the 30-year-old Christian convert.