Our media are obsessed with handwringing about convicts being sentenced to death in America, but almost silent when Christians are murdered in the Middle East.

The contrast between what we might call “deserving” and “undeserving” Death Row-ers has been thrown into sharp relief with the news that Iranian Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani is to be put to death on trumped-up charges. His gravest offence, in the eyes of the Iranian authorities, was to have Muslim ancestry yet be a practising Christian. The pastor has, in an astonishing act of bravery, refused to renounce Christ three times, on pain of death, before the Iranian supreme court.

Of course, his supposed apostasy is not the reason given for Nadarkhani’s sentence by Gholomali Rezvani, the deputy governor of Iran’s Gilan province, who accused him of being a “Zionist” and committing “security-related crimes” when it became clear that international opinion was against the grounds of the original conviction.

“This is how justice works in Iran,” explains the blogger known as Archbishop Cranmer. “If they can’t get you one way, they fabricate, manipulate and manoeuvre to ensure their pre-ordained sentence is effected.”

 

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