Early this morning, the ACLJ received this troubling news from Christian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani's attorney in Iran, Mohammad Ali Dadkhah. Mr. Dadkhah firmly denies that the court has agreed to overturn Pastor Youcef's death sentence. He believes this is a lie spread by the Iranian secret service, even to members of his own family, to stop the media from reporting on this case.
Pastor Firouz Sadegh-Khandjani, a Member of the Council of Elders for the Church of Iran and a close personal friend of Pastor Youcef, said that "until we have official notification we must be cautious. In June we were told the [Supreme] Court had canceled the sentence and [Pastor Youcef] would be released, but after that we received another verdict. Before we receive a formal verdict we must proceed. . . If we don't keep up the pressure they may turn it into a life sentence or send him to a worse prison. In Iran about 18 years ago, they had released a pastor, but then came and assassinated him and his bishop later. We cannot stop the pressure."
Attempts to stifle the media on sensitive matters are common in Iran, and as we first reported, until Pastor Youcef walks free, we need to continue to push for his immediate and unconditional release. I appeared on CBN News this morning to deliver the breaking news and we will post the video of the interview as soon as possible.
We are continuing to work with Pastor Youcef's lawyer and our other contacts in Iran to ensure that Pastor Youcef's life is spared and he is released.