A Christian pastor who was arrested in 2009 for renouncing the Islam faith can now be executed at any time without warning, according to an Iranian court.
Youcef Nadarkhani, 34, was found guilty of apostasy by an Iranian lower court two years ago and now has been sentenced to death by hanging.
Fears have been expressed that the execution would be in retaliation to international pressure being put on Iran for its nuclear agenda. Jordan Sekulow, executive director of The American Center for Law and Justice, called the sentence “defiance” by Iran. Sekulow said to Fox News, “The world needs to stand up and say that a man cannot be put to death because of his faith.”
International legal director of the American Center for Law and Justice Tiffany Barrans told The Daily Caller, “The Iranian Supreme Court upheld that the proper sentence for an apostate that refuses to recant is death.” Nadarkhani has been in jail for 863 days.
Nadarkhani’s supporters say his arrest came after he questioned Muslim religious instruction of Iranian children, according to Mail Online. Although he had not practiced the Muslim religion as an adult, the court ruled that Nadarkhani had to return to the faith because he was born into a Muslim family.