February 23, 2012
Sources in Iran say an execution order for Christian pastor Youcef Nadarkhani has been signed, Mission Network News reports. Todd Nettleton of Voice of the Martyrs USA said: "Apparently, that execution order has not been delivered to his family or his attorneys, but the report is that it has been signed. That means that at any time, he could be executed." It is unclear whether the execution order has been approved by the head of Iran's judiciary, Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani. Publicly held executions must be approved, but most executions are conducted in secret and without any prior notice to attorneys or family. Nadarkhani, who was charged with "apostasy" and leaving Islam, has refused to recant his Christian faith during the three years he has been imprisoned and separated from his wife and two sons. His conviction and sentence have been delayed thus far because of international pressure.