An update on this story. No tactic on Iran’s part would be surprising. The prosecution of Joseph Nadarkhani is inherently unjust, and authorities have only become more desperate and deceitful as the case progressed. “False Reports on Iran Pastor’s Retrial Worrisome,” from CBN News, October 15 (thanks to Kenneth):
Misleading reports about Iranian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani are continuing to spread, raising concern among supporters that the world will soon dismiss the severity of his case.
Nadarkhani has been imprisoned in Iran for two years on charges of apostasy. He’s now facing the death penalty after refusing several times in court to recant his faith.
The Iranian media is reporting that a retrial has been set over concerns of how Nadarkhani’s case was handled.
But the American Center for Law and Justice confirmed with Nadarkhani’s lawyer that no retrial was ordered.
“What’s worse is that the mainstream media has begun to run these [Iranian] reports as fact,” Jordan Sekulow, ACLJ executive director, said.
The ACLJ, which has been following Nadarkhani’s case from the beginning, explained that reports about a retrial mistakenly refer to a hearing that already occurred late last month.
The group said these are the facts thus far:
In June 2011, Nadarkhani’s case was heard before the Iranian Supreme Court.
The justices sent the case back to the lower court saying, “If it can be proved that [Nadarkhani] was a practicing Muslim as an adult and has not repented, the execution will be carried out.”
Sept. 25-28, a hearing took place in the lower court. Judges found that Nadarkhani was a Muslim because his parents were Muslims.
He was ordered to recant his faith or die [for a fourth time], to which Nadarkhani responds, “I cannot.”
Mohammad Ali Dadkhah, the pastor’s lawyer, said these false reports prove that now is the best time to pressure Iran.
Dadkhah himself faces a nine year prison sentence for representing human rights cases like this.
The ACLJ recently sent a bipartisan letter signed by 89 members of Congress, urging the State Department to intervene in Nadarkhani’s case.
The group also sent a letter to the United Nations.
So far, there’s been no response from either agency.