January 5, 2012
Yousef Nadarkhani, the Iranian pastor facing a death sentence for refusing to renounce his Christian faith, could spend another year in jail as he waits for an appeal on his death sentence, and prison officials continue to pressure him to convert to Islam. Present Truth Ministries, which has followed Nadarkhani's case for two years, said in December that Nadarkhani's lawyer had asked the judge to delay the verdict and keep him in prison for another year, CBN News reports. Jason DeMars of Present Truth Ministries said the delay was meant to let the case "slip away from international attention" as authorities continue to "use whatever means necessary to cause him to convert to Islam." DeMars added: "There are no assurances that he will not be executed. It could happen at any time. This is the way that the Iranian government operates with executions. They do not give advance notice, and it is done in secret."