As international protests mount against the possible execution of Youcef Naderkhani, a Christian pastor who has refused to repent of his Christian faith, Iran’s state-supported Fars News Agency claimed on Friday, 30 September that Youcef Naderkhani’s charges are “rape” and “repeated extortion.”
In an interview with the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, the Protestant pastor’s lawyer Mohammad Ali Dadkhah reacted to the news. “If he is under trial in another court on other charges, I am not aware. But we only defended him against the death sentence in the case of his charge of apostasy. The charge the court staff announced that I defended during several different court sessions was apostasy and no other charge,” he told the Campaign.
For the second time, the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran publishes below the court ruling issued by the Supreme Court in the case of Youcef Naderkhani, which confirms his lawyer’s statements. The charges quoted by Fars News create concern that the new, non-judicial charges are brought up by political authorities who wish to influence the outcome of this case.
Quoting Gholamali Rezvani, Gilan Province’s Political/Security Deputy Governor, Fars News Agency wrote on Friday, “Youcef Nadarkhani has security crimes and he had set up a house of corruption.”
“This individual is a criminal, and his crime is not the act of inviting some to Christianity, but security charges. Nadarkhani’s death sentence was issued for security crimes, but the execution is not definitive. The subject of the crime and this individual’s death sentence are not belief-based and related to his religion. Nobody is executed in our regime for choosing a religion, but he is a Zionist who has security crimes. Right now, carrying out the sentence is not a definitive matter,” Rezvani added.
Mohammad Ali Dadkhah expressed surprise at Fars News Agency’s publication of this news. “The charge against Nadarkhani that I defended at the Supreme Court was related to the accusation of apostasy. Also this week, my colleagues and I defended Mr. Nadarkhani on the charge of apostasy. The last charge of which the court informed him was about his apostasy,” he said.
The report on Fars News website also states, “Western media used the case of a rapist and extortionist in Gilan Province to claim that the Iranian Judiciary has sentenced to death an individual who has converted from Islam and, as they claim, has become a pastor.”
See also “Unprecedented Death Sentence for Christian Pastor on Charge of Apostasy,” 7 December 2010. (http://www.iranhumanrights.org/2010/12/khanjani-nadarkhani-apostasy/).
Below is the Supreme Court’s ruling in the case of Youcef Naderkhani.