Posted by: bahareiran | October 9, 2010

Two jailed Christian priests in danger of execution for ‘apostasy’

The 11th branch of the Gilan Judiciary has requested the death sentence for Christian priest, Yusef Nodrkhani, on the charge of apostasy. His jailed wife has also been sentenced to life in prison. Another jailed priest in Shiraz, Behrouz Khanjani, also faces the threat of execution.

Nodrkhani is a Rasht resident and has been detained in this town’s prison since 2009. He was arrested after being summoned several times for encouraging Christianity in his home church. This 35 year old priest has two small children.

Reza Dehghani, a priest and member of the Leadership Council of the Iran Church said that Yusef Nodrkhani was sentenced to death on charges of apostasy.

“He was tried three times and the last time he went to trial was three weeks ago. His lawyer was informed over the phone that a death sentence was issued for him but they have not made officially announced this and have not given them a written sentence. This is a common practice carried out to evaluate the reaction of the public”, he said. 

Fatemeh Pasandideh, the wife of Yusef Nodrkhani, has been jailed since June 2010.

Dehghani said that the children (of this Christian couple) are under six years old and live with their aunt.

“Mrs. Pasandideh has been sentenced to life imprisonment because in Islam, the sentence for a man who has committed apostasy is death and for a woman it is life in prison”.

Dehghani also cited the dangerous state of Behrouz Khanjani in Shiraz Prison and said that he had also been sentenced to death.  

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