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Iran: Christian Convert May Still Be Hanged

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Iran: Christian Convert May Still Be Hanged

Oct-05-2011 at 10:49 PM (UTC+3 Nineveh, Assyria)

Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani
Iran: Christian Convert May Still Be Hanged
by Tim Marshall, Sky News foreign affairs editor. Thursday September 29, 2011.

An Iranian man due to be hanged for converting to Christianity may still be killed despite claims his death sentence has been annulled, Sky News has learned.

Christian Solidarity Worldwide is campaigning on behalf of Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani whose case has attracted attention in dozens of countries.

The human rights group has told Sky News the 34-year-old's sentence may have been annulled but fears remain he will be put to death.

A spokesman said: "We've had some reports that there has been a verbal announcement from the court in Iran that the sentence is annulled but we urge caution.

"It's been known that verbal announcements have been directly contradicted by later written statements. We are still calling for international pressure to be kept up."

Sky sources say Nadarkhani was given a verbal assurance last year that he would not be sentenced to death but then was.

The case centres on alleged apostasy - the abandonment or renunciation of one's religion.

Pastor Nardarkhani was born to Muslim parents but did not practise the faith and then converted to Christianity when he was 19.

“I am resolute in my faith and Christianity and have no wish to recant.”
Christian Iranian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani
The text of your message begins here...He became a member of the Protestant evangelical Church of Iran and held services in "home churches" in the town of Rasht.

In 2009, he fell foul of the authorities when he challenged the law which insists that all schools should teach Islam.

He was arrested in October 2009 and a year later was sentenced to death for apostasy on a charge which has doubtful legality in the Iranian civil legal system, but which is underpinned by sharia law.

Pastor Nardarkhani pleaded not guilty, partially on the grounds that from puberty he was never a practising Muslim and thus had not renounced his faith.

But he has denied that Muhammad was the prophet of God.

He has been given three opportunities to renounce his Christianity but refused saying: "I am resolute in my faith and Christianity and have no wish to recant."

Among those campaigning to save him is the British Foreign Secretary William Hague.
He has said: "I pay tribute to the courage shown by Pastor Nadarkhani who has no case to answer and call on the Iranian authorities to overturn his sentence."

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Assyria \ã-'sir-é-ä\ n (1998)   1:  an ancient empire of Ashur   2:  a democratic state in Bet-Nahren, Assyria (northern Iraq, northwestern Iran, southeastern Turkey and eastern Syria.)   3:  a democratic state that fosters the social and political rights to all of its inhabitants irrespective of their religion, race, or gender   4:  a democratic state that believes in the freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture in faithfulness to the principles of the United Nations Charter — Atour synonym

Ethnicity, Religion, Language
» Israeli, Jewish, Hebrew
» Assyrian, Christian, Aramaic
» Saudi Arabian, Muslim, Arabic
Assyrian \ã-'sir-é-an\ adj or n (1998)   1:  descendants of the ancient empire of Ashur   2:  the Assyrians, although representing but one single nation as the direct heirs of the ancient Assyrian Empire, are now doctrinally divided, inter sese, into five principle ecclesiastically designated religious sects with their corresponding hierarchies and distinct church governments, namely, Church of the East, Chaldean, Maronite, Syriac Orthodox and Syriac Catholic.  These formal divisions had their origin in the 5th century of the Christian Era.  No one can coherently understand the Assyrians as a whole until he can distinguish that which is religion or church from that which is nation -- a matter which is particularly difficult for the people from the western world to understand; for in the East, by force of circumstances beyond their control, religion has been made, from time immemorial, virtually into a criterion of nationality.   3:  the Assyrians have been referred to as Aramaean, Aramaye, Ashuraya, Ashureen, Ashuri, Ashuroyo, Assyrio-Chaldean, Aturaya, Chaldean, Chaldo, ChaldoAssyrian, ChaldoAssyrio, Jacobite, Kaldany, Kaldu, Kasdu, Malabar, Maronite, Maronaya, Nestorian, Nestornaye, Oromoye, Suraya, Syriac, Syrian, Syriani, Suryoye, Suryoyo and Telkeffee. — Assyrianism verb

Aramaic \ar-é-'máik\ n (1998)   1:  a Semitic language which became the lingua franca of the Middle East during the ancient Assyrian empire.   2:  has been referred to as Neo-Aramaic, Neo-Syriac, Classical Syriac, Syriac, Suryoyo, Swadaya and Turoyo.

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