Iran: Written Verdict Confirms Pastor's Death Sentence
Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) has received a copy of the verdict for Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani handed down by the Supreme Court of Iran. The verdict upholds the pastor's death sentence. The written ruling confirms a verbal notification earlier this month indicating that his appeal had been unsuccessful. The written verdict is dated June 12, 2011, but the document was only made available to Nadarkhani’s lawyer within the last week. A similar delay occurred when the pastor was initially tried and found guilty of apostasy in September 2010. The verdict was delivered verbally in court, while written confirmation of the death sentence was received over one month later. The original verdict was based on fatwas by Iran's most powerful religious leaders -- Ayatollahs Khomeini, Khamenei and Makarem Shirazi -- meaning the Supreme Court may have been reluctant to overturn the verdict for fear of inviting controversy. CSW’s Advocacy Director Andrew Johnston said, “We are deeply disappointed with the Supreme Court ruling, which has simply handed Pastor Nadarkhani’s case back to the court that found him guilty in the first place."