Iranian Pastor on Death Row Under Pressure

Religion Today

Iranian Pastor on Death Row Under Pressure


November 15, 2011

Imprisoned Iranian pastor Yousef Nadarkhani, awaiting a decision on his death sentence for refusing to recant his faith, has faced physical and psychological torture, Compass Direct News reports. Nadarkhani, sentenced to death a year ago after a court of appeals in Rasht, Iran, found him guilty of leaving Islam, is in deteriorating health, according to a source close to his family who requested anonymity. The source said communication with Nadarkhani was limited, but that he had undergone torture. "Certainly he was hit, but his [telephone] conversations are heard [by authorities]," the source said. "We know that he has been in extreme situations, and we consider that torture. When you have spent time in a solitary cell unable to talk to others for a long time, or you are told you will be killed, that is also torture." Authorities have continued to pressure Nadarkhani to recant his faith while in prison. The court in Rasht was expected to pronounce a verdict on his appeal last month but instead sent his case to the Iran's Islamic authority, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, to make a ruling. Some reports indicate a ruling could come the second half of December.

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