A CNS News article reports that Iranian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani has been convicted of "apostasy," and faces the gallows unless he renounces Christianity. The White House, Christian organizations, human rights groups and governments have called for his release, fearing that he could be executed within a few days.
Last July State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland issued a statement on the case expressing dismay over reports that Nadarkhani had been given the choice of renouncing his faith or being hanged.
“If carried out, it would be the first execution for apostasy in Iran since 1990,” she said.
“He is just one of thousands who face persecution for their religious beliefs in Iran, including the seven leaders of the Baha’i community whose imprisonment was increased to 20 years for practicing their faith and hundreds of Sufis who have been flogged in public because of their beliefs,” Nuland said. “While Iran’s leaders hypocritically claim to promote tolerance, they continue to detain, imprison, harass, and abuse those who simply wish to worship the faith of their choosing....”