Facing growing international outrage over a pastor sentenced to death for apostasy, Iran has stepped up its efforts to deny that religion has anything to do with the man at the center of the controversy.
A Christian ministry close to Youcef Nadarkhani says it has been told a verdict will be delivered on Monday. The pastor and father of two was sentenced to death by hanging late last year, and on appeal the Supreme Court ruled last July that the lower court must reexamine whether Nadarkhani was a practicing Muslim at the time he embraced Christianity more than a decade ago, aged 19.
If he was and he does not “repent,” the Supreme Court ruled, the execution must be carried out. Back before the lower court in his home province of Gilan late last month, Nadarkhani repeatedly was asked to renounce his faith or be hanged. He refused.
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