Iran’s Supreme Court has upheld a lower court ruling that Yosef Nadarkhani, a 32 year-old Iranian evangelical pastor, must reject his Christian faith or be put to death. It’s the latest incident in the Islamist Republic’s continuous and increased assault on its small Christian population.
Nadarkhani was first arrested on the charge of apostasy (leaving Islam for another faith) in October 2009 and sentenced to death by hanging for his refusal to teach Islam to Christian children. While Nadarkhani hadn’t practiced any faith before he became a Christian at age19, he was born to Muslim parents and thus considered to be a Muslim under Islamic law.
As such, Nadarkhani’s conviction was upheld in September 2010 by a lower Iranian court when it found that he had proven his apostasy by “organizing evangelistic meetings, sharing his faith, inviting others to convert, and running a house church.” At that point, Nadarkhani appealed to Iran’s Supreme Court to have his death sentence reversed but that appeal has now been rejected.