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Iranian is pastor re-arrested

29 July 2016

YOUCEF NADARKHANI/FACEBOOK

New charges: Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, pictured in 2012

New charges: Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, pictured in 2012

AN IRANIAN pastor, who had been acquitted of apostasy after being sentenced to death, has been re-arrested and charged with “acting against national security”, the religious freedom charity Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) has said.

Youcef Nadarkhani was arrested with his wife in May after a raid on their home by police. In court last Sunday, he was charged, and bailed for £25,000. Three members of his congregation were also arrested in May, but have yet to hear what charges they are to face.

In 2010, Mr Nadarkhani was sentenced to death for apostasy, and although later acquitted of that charge, he spent three years in prison on the lesser charge of evangelising Muslims. He was released from prison in December 2013 (News, 11 January 2013).

The chief executive of CWS, Mervyn Thomas, said that the “renewed harassment” of Mr Nadarkhani was “deeply troubling”. He urged the government to dismiss the “spurious” charges against him.

He said: “The international community must press the government of Iran to uphold its obligations to respect the right of its citizens to freedom of religion or belief, as outlined in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which it is signatory, and in Iran’s own constitution.”

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