Archbishop Cranmer reports that Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani will soon be hanged for his faith, having refused to “revert” four times to Islam:
Sources in Iran are reporting that the execution order for Christian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani may have been issued. An Iranian Court has convicted him of apostasy (despite never having been a Muslim: background here, here and here), and the execution is thought to be imminent.
Here is the White House statement on Pastor Nadarkhani:
The United States condemns in the strongest possible terms reports that Iranian authorities’ reaffirmed a death sentence for Iranian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani for the sole reason of his refusal to recant his Christian faith. This action is yet another shocking breach of Iran’s international obligations, its own constitution, and stated religious values. The United States stands in solidarity with Pastor Nadarkhani, his family, and all those who seek to practice their religion without fear of persecution—a fundamental and universal human right. The trial and sentencing process for Pastor Nadarkhani demonstrates the Iranian government’s total disregard for religious freedom, and further demonstrates Iran’s continuing violation of the universal rights of its citizens. The United States calls upon the Iranian authorities to immediately lift the sentence, release Pastor Nadarkhani, and demonstrate a commitment to basic, universal human rights, including freedom of religion. The United States renews its calls for people of conscience and governments around the world to reach out to Iranian authorities and demand Pastor Nadarkhani’s immediate release.
Believers should pray often for Pastor Nadarkhani, and the persecuted church in Iran.
Assist News reports on the arrest of a 78-year old woman this week, for believing in Jesus:
Ms. Hakimpour, who is 78-years-old, is a member and minister of St. Luke’s Anglican church in Esfahan. She was living on her own in an apartment and witnesses saw both police and private cars parking down below her flat from around 6:00 AM,” said a spokesperson for Mohabat News.
Knowledgeable sources told Mohabat News that the intelligence officers initially interrogated her in her flat and then arrested her, and then went on to thoroughly search her apartment and confiscated some of her personal belongings.
Eyewitnesses said the officers were there for three hours until 9:00 AM, and then they took Ms. Hakimpour with them.
“No information is available concerning her whereabouts and health condition at this time,” the spokesperson told the ASSIST News Service. “She has no relatives inside Iran; however, the news of her arrest has caused a wave of anxiety among her relatives living outside Iran.
“The Iranian Christian community calls on Iranian authorities to release her and take measures to exonerate her of any charges.”
He added, “It has been reported that Ms. Hakimpour had not been in a good health the night before her arrest and was using some medicines because of knee replacement surgery she had undergone. Also her doctor had ordered that she should not be stressed and that she needs to be under special care.
“So, holding her in custody without basic facilities could cause her difficulties. The responsibility of life and any possible health problems for this elderly lady rest directly on Iranian authorities.”
Ms. Giti Hakimpour was born into a family who converted to Christianity from a Jewish background. She is a relative of Bishop Iraj Mottahedeh, former bishop of St. Luke’s church in Esfahan. She retired from a hospital of an oil industry company in Masjed-Soleiman and where she was a matron. She trained many nurses, some of whom are currently serving in the hospitals of Iran.
“It needs to be remembered that the security authorities of the Iranian Intelligence Office attacked the home of Pastor Hekmat Salimi in Fooladshahr, a district of Esfahan at 7:00 AM, also on February 22, 2012. They also arrested and transferred him to an unknown location without providing any kind of explanation. There are still no updates available concerning his situation,” added the spokesperson.
“No doubt, these anti-Christian actions are being taken in order to intimidate and terrorize Christians, especially Christian converts. These are being done after when some while ago, Mohammad Taqi Mesbah Yazdi, who is known as the theoretician of the Islamic regime, said in a meeting with the President and Vice President of the Office of Islamic Propaganda in the Islamic Seminary of Qom that, ‘some work has been done and monies have been spent to counter the growth of Christianity in some provinces but the outcome is not satisfactory because no one is supervising these efforts.”
According to the reports published by Mohabat News, during these first two months of 2012, the security authorities of the Intelligence Ministry have arrested Christian citizens individually or in groups in cities of Ahwaz, Shiraz, Tehran and Esfahan.