What remains to be seen is if the new trial becomes an opportunity to formally pile on all of the imaginative new accusations leveled against Joseph Nadarkhani in the past month as international attention and opposition to his death sentence for apostasy have grown.
Washington (CNN)–Should Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani’s case be returned to the Supreme Court of Iran, that country’s highest court has agreed to review it, according to the pastor’s lawyer.
Mohammad Dadkah, Nadarkhani’s lawyer, confirmed the Supreme Court’s statement in a Thursday conversation with CNN. The reversal is a minor victory for the two-year-old legal battle; the Supreme Court passed on hearing the case in 2010.
Nadarkhani, the leader of a network of house churches in Iran, was first convicted of apostasy in November 2010 for changing from a Muslim to a Christian. He was sentenced to death.
He subsequently appealed the conviction all the way to the high court. The Supreme Court passed the trial back down to the lower court and, in an appeals trial last month in Gilan province, Nadarkhani refused to recant his beliefs.
Nadarkhani’s ordeal has drawn international attention, becoming a cause celebre for a number of Christian organizations in the United States and abroad. Many of these groups took to Facebook, Twitter and their own websites in an attempt to energize their followers to protest the pastor’s treatment.
Jordan Sekulow, executive director of the American Center for Law and Justice, an organization that has regularly updated its followers on the status of the case, said once the international community got a word of this case, voices were raised high enough that Iran began to feel the pressure. […]
But according to Harris Zafar, national spokesman for Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA, it is “unnerving” that one distinct voice is missing from pleas to Iran.
“I think what is really missing is a strong Muslim voice,” Zafar said. “I am a bit surprised that there aren’t more Muslims up in arms about this. Perhaps it is quiet, passive, acceptance.”…