Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani was released Saturday, Sept. 8, after a trial where he was found guilty of evangelizing Muslims. Youcef was not charged with apostasy, or leaving Islam. He was sentenced to three years, which he's already served. Youcef is free, praise God.
Youcef Nadarkhani, a 34-year-old pastor from Rasht, about 750 miles
northwest of Tehran, was arrested in October 2009 after he protested a
government policy that required children, including his 8- and
9-year-old sons, to study the Quran in school. Youcef told school
officials that the Iranian constitution allows for freedom of religious
practice. As a result of his protest, secret police called him before a
political tribunal and arrested him for protesting. The charges were
later amended to apostasy and evangelism of Muslims. Youcef was tried on
Sept. 21–22, 2010 by the 1st Court of the Revolutionary Tribunal and
sentenced to death on Nov. 13 for apostasy.
The pastor is
imprisoned in Lakan prison, where authorities have used various methods,
including medication, to convert him back to Islam.
Youcef refused to convert to Islam, his wife was arrested, put on trial
without an attorney and sentenced to life in prison. She was later
released after an attorney appealed her sentence. The Nadarkhanis’
children were cared for by a relative while they were both in prison.