The Iranian Supreme Court has upheld the death sentence against a 34-year-old pastor convicted of apostasy and accused of evangelising Muslims.
According to reports from Christian advocacy group Present Truth Ministries (PTM), Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, 34, has been in prison since October 2009.
His appeal against the death sentence was rejected by the Iranian Supreme Court on 28 June 2011, meaning he is due to be executed by hanging.
The PTM report said that, if the death sentence is carried out, it will be the first court-ordered execution of a Christian in Iran in 20 years.
A contact on the ground said, ‘At this time, there is no more action that can be done inside of Iran to overturn this sentence. It can be carried out any time. The only option is to bring international attention to the issue’.
Pastor Nadarkhani was arrested in October 2009, after he protested at government policy that required children, including his eight and nine-year-old sons, to study the Koran in school. As a result, secret police arrested him.
After Pastor Nadarkhani refused to convert to Islam, his wife was arrested, put on trial without an attorney and sentenced to life in prison. She was later released after an attorney appealed her sentence.
At the time of going to press, it was unknown whether his martyrdom has happened but we urge readers to pray for his release and the protection of his family. Visit www.prisoneralert.com to email government officials on his behalf.