A brother in Iran sentenced to death for “thought crimes”

An Iranian court has passed down a death sentence on a Christian pastor, who was found guilty of so-called “thought crimes,” reports Michael Ireland, Chief Correspondent, ASSIST News Service.

According to http://www.presenttruthmn.com, the official verdict has now been delivered in writing to Pastor Yusef Nadarkhani, stating that he is to be hung for the crime of apostasy.

Spokesman Jason DeMars of Present Truth Ministries, says: “There are 20 days to appeal the verdict, and Youcef’s attorney is now beginning the process of the appeal.”

http://www.christiantelegraph.com/issue11365.html

19 Responses to “A brother in Iran sentenced to death for “thought crimes””

  1. mkayla Says:

    What is a thought crime exactly and how can it be validated?

  2. ian vincent Says:

    This is a message from brother Youcef Nadarkhani, a pastor of an Iranian church who is remaining in prison.

    Our dear brother has been kept in custody since the October of 2009 and has recently been sentenced to death. This message has been translated from Farsi to English.

    Dear brothers and sisters, Salam

    In the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ, I am continuously seeking grace and mercy to you, that you remember me and those who are bearing efforts for his name in your prayers.

    Your loyalty to God is the cause of my strength and encouragement.

    For I know well that you will be rewarded; as it’s stated: blessed is the one who has faith, for what has been said to him by God, will be carried out.

    As we believe, heaven and earth will fade but his word will still remain.

    Dear beloved ones, I would like to take this opportunity to remind you of a few verses, although you might know them, So that in everything, you give more effort than the past, both to prove your election, and for the sake of Gospel that is to be preached to the entire world as well.

    I know that not all of us are granted to keep this word, but to those who are granted this power and this revelation, I announce the same as Jude, earnestly contend for the faith that was once delivered to the saints.

    We are passing by special and sensitive days.They are days that for an alert and awake believer can be days of spiritual growth and progress. Because for him, more than any other time there is the possibility to compare his faith with the word of God, have God’s promises in mind, and survey his faith.

    Therefore he (the true believer) does not need to wonder for the fiery trial that has been set on for him as though it were something unusual, but it pleases him to participate in Christ’s suffering.

    Because the believer knows he will rejoice in his glory.

    Dears, the “ judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?”

    Therefore those who are enduring burdens by the will of God, commit their souls to the faithful Creator. Promises that he has given us, are unique and precious. As we’ve heard he has said: “Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you”

    How can it be possible for a believer to understand these words?

    Not only when he is focusing on Jesus Christ with adapting his life according to the life Jesus lived when he was on earth? As it is said ” O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail.”

    Have we not read and heard: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. Many attempt to flee from their spiritual tests, and they have to face those same tests in a more difficult manner, because no one will be victorious by escaping from them, but with patience and humility he will be able to overcome all the tests, and gain victory.

    Therefore in the place of Christ’s followers, we must not feel desperate, but we have to pray to God in supplication with more passion to help us with any assistance we may need.

    According to what Paul has said: In every temptation, God himself will make a way for us to tolerate it.

    O beloved ones, difficulties do not weaken mankind, but they reveal the true human nature.

    It will be good for us to occasionally face persecutions and abnormalities, since these abnormalities will persuade us to search our hearts, and to survey ourselves.

    So as a result, we conclude that troubles are difficult, but usually good and useful to build us.

    Dear brothers and sisters, we must be more careful than any other time.

    Because in these days, the hearts and thoughts of many are revealed, so that the faith is tested.

    May your treasure be where there is no moth and rust.

    I would like to remind you of some verses that we nearly discuss everyday, (Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.) but as long as our human will has priority over God’s will, his will will not be done.

    As we have learned from him in Gethsemane, he surrendered his will to the father, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”

    What we are bearing today, is a difficult but not unbearable situation, because neither he has tested us more than our faith and our endurance, nor does he do as such. And as we have known from before, we must beware not to fail, but to advance in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, And consider these bumps and prisons as opportunities to testify to his name. He said: If anyone is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.

    As a small servant, necessarily in prison to carry out what I must do, I say with faith in the word of God that he will come soon.”However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”

    Discipline yourself with faith in the word of God. Retain your souls with patience. For there is no man that doeth any thing in secret, and he himself seeketh to be known openly.

    May you are granted grace and blessings increasingly in the name of Lord Jesus Christ.

    Yusef Nadarkhani

    Lakan Prison in Rasht

    2/June/2010

    http://presenttruthmn.com/blog/iran/letter-youcef-nadarkhani/

    and a petition for his release:

    http://www.petitiononline.com/IRANPET/petition.html

  3. ian vincent Says:

    Full Story of Youcef Nadarkhani

    Here is a brief history of Youcef Nadarkhani, leading up to his current situation.

    Youcef is 33 years old and is from Rasht, in the Gilan province of Iran. For the past ten years he has been a pastor in a network of house churches. He was previously imprisoned in December of 2006, the charges being apostasy (leaving Islam for Christianity) and evangelism (spreading the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ), but was released two weeks later.

    He is married and has two sons, ages 8 and 6. They were attending a local school when the government decidediran map 1 300×275 Full Story of Youcef Nadarkhani that all children should be taught about Islam, including those from Christian families. Youcef went to the school and protested this based on the Iranian constitution, which allows for freedom to practice religion. As a result, the secret police called him before the political tribunal in Rasht, Iran on October 12, 2009. At that time he was arrested, charged for protesting, and has been in prison in Lakan (which is seven miles south of Rasht) ever since. Later the charges changed to apostasy and evangelism to Muslims.

    Through this time he has had access to an attorney, and has been allowed visits from his wife, children, and friends. However, for the first month in prison and two weeks before his trial up until now the visits and meetings with his attorney have been limited. They have used various methods to try to convert him back to Islam, including giving him pills, apparently in an attempt to claim that he was insane.

    Because Youcef’s faith remained strong, they decided to arrest his wife in order to place more pressure on him. On June 18th, Fatemah Pasindedih was arrested and placed in prison in Lakan. During this time their boys went to live with a relative. Both Youcef and his wife Fatemah were threatened by authorities that their children would be taken away and given to a Muslim family. Youcef was not swayed to turn back to Islam, so his wife was put on trial without an attorney, and sentenced to life in prison. An attorney was later hired and the sentence appealed. The sentence and conviction were overturned and she was released.

    On September 21 and 22, 2010, Youcef was put on trial, and verbally given the sentence of death. A written verdict was delayed and then delivered, on November 13, 2010, by the 1st Court of the Revolutionary Tribunal. He is to be executed by hanging for the crime of apostacy. Twenty days are allowed to appeal the sentence with the Supreme Court of Iran.

    Youcef is now in the secret police security prison in Lakan. He is being denied access to his family and attorney, while the authorities in the area are trying to hide the case and the situation from the world.

    It is critical that we continue to pray for pastor Youcef and make our voices heard. Please reach out to your elected officials and to the international news media so that Youcef’s case will come to light.

    http://presenttruthmn.com/the-ministry/youcef-nadarkhani/

  4. mkayla Says:

    A reminder of how real a situation like this really is, even if in another country.

    Thanks for the additional info Ian.

  5. mkayla Says:

    I just went back and read his letter. It is quite moving and I have to wonder if I would react this way if I were in the same situation. We talk about this from time to time and there is the threat (or some think so) of the camps being set up here for that purpose. We can’t fool ourselves into thinking we can work this up within ourselves, it all has to come from God. And for now it is to arm ourselves with the word, giving time to prayer. But the sustaining power must come directly from the Lord, not our own. I will pray for this man, his family and maybe more importantly his captors who are without the hope of Christ.

  6. A Brother in Chains « m'kayla's korner Says:

    […] found this article on Ian’s blog and was completely moved in my spirit to pray for this man, Youcef, who is in Iran  awaiting the […]

  7. ruthsongs Says:

    I can’t help but read his letter and notice the striking difference between his words and the Christianity-lite drivel we hear from the majority of ‘popular’ preachers the U.S.

    THIS is a man who is purpose driven- driven to remain faithful to the Lord even when in chains and facing death.

    THIS is a man who knows his “destiny” is Christ in him, his hope of glory, to be revealed when he sees Him face to face.

    THIS is a man who does not believe his best life is found now, in this world.

    I don’t want to sound spiteful, but please, brothers and sisters, can you see the difference? Do not settle for less than brother Youcef’s view of our Lord, Savior and King.

  8. ian vincent Says:

    I really appreciate your comments, sisters.

    The enemy can attack a Disciple in two ways: either by physical violence, or by more subtle means.

    The danger in the rich western world is that the enemy is subtlely devouring Christians and they don’t even know it.

  9. ian vincent Says:

    I think all we can do is pray. We are to count it all joy when any Christian is persecuted for the kingdom and their reward in heaven will be great. Paul was prophesied to that he would be imprisioned for Christ’s sake and he rejoiced.

    Most times, that IS all we can do, and that is a mighty work in God.

    Some times we do have the opportunity to stand up and defend an innocent person in real life, and at those times we should.

  10. fleebabylon Says:

    Wow brethren, what more can be said? Would I be willing to be thrown in prison and have my life cut short if it were Gods will to work through it? God wont give us that kind of grace unless we need it, but we can be faithful where we are and be diligent to be found in Him without spot and at peace.

    I want to investigate the petition a little now…

    In Christ,

    Jim

  11. ian vincent Says:

    Good to see you, brother!

    Amen to your comment.

  12. Christine Says:

    What a testimony of this man’s faith in God and His Promises – his Word IS Truth and ALL His Promises are Yes and Amen. I was moved to tears when I read these words from a man who so lives to serve his Lord. Only He knows the Why? and the Wherefore?, but we can trust Him to give us ALL that we need in the time of need. I stand with you and pray for God’s perfect Will to be done in this situation and for His true Glory to be revealed to ‘those who sit in darkness’. Hallelui!

  13. ian vincent Says:

    Please pray earnestly for our dear brother as his final appeal is being processed.

  14. ian vincent Says:

    Our brother Yusef is a true martyr (witness) bcos he has been given a chance to recant and go free and he witnessed that he cannot deny the LORD Jesus.

    All the people in Iran and elsewhere can see that this man would rather die than deny Jesus Christ.

    But i do pray that he be spared from this and released. He has already been martyred, he has bravely given his testimony of Jesus.

    Father, strengthen and encourage our brother, and please deliver him from this, in Jesus name.

  15. ian vincent Says:

    Iranian authorities suddenly have backed off claims they’ve been making for months – that a pastor was convicted of leaving Islam and was subject to the death penalty – but advocates remain concerned about his ultimate safety.

    WND reported several days ago on a campaign that was being assembled to encourage the White House to pressure Iran not to execute Christian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani.

    To date, tens of thousands of people have participated in expressions of public concern over Nadarkhani’s future.

    Then today, according to a report in International Business Times, Iranian authorities suddenly decided to say Nadarkhani was in prison on other counts and, “There has been no execution order. No conviction at all has been issued yet.”

    The backtracking was attributed by the IBT to Gilan Province Judiciary Chief Mohammad-Javad Hesehmati.

    Read more: Pastor facing death slammed with accusation about this! http://www.wnd.com/?pageId=352157#ixzz1a12ZLewg

  16. ian vincent Says:

    Iran presses pastor: Islam or death

    By BENJAMIN WEINTHAL
    11/07/2011 03:54

    Iran’s security officials recently delivered a book on Islam to Nadarkhani, Fox News says; he is in prison Rasht on the Caspian Sea coast.

    Iran’s government and security apparatus have ratcheted up the pressure on Evangelical pastor Youcef Nadarkhani to convert to Islam or face execution, Fox News reported on Saturday.

    http://www.jpost.com/MiddleEast/Article.aspx?id=244635

  17. ian vincent Says:

    FAITH UNDER FIRE
    Iran uses beatings to pressure Christian pastor
    Reports confirm jailed leader resisting campaign to make him recant
    Posted: November 17, 2011

    By Michael Carl
    © 2011 WND

    Beatings and solitary confinement are two of the tools being used by Iranian officials to pressure a Christian pastor Youcef Nadarkhani condemned for blasphemy to recant his faith, according to reports.

    Iran has planned to execute Nadarkhani, but he remains alive because of the international furor created by the Islamic republic’s plan to destroy a man who says he never was a Muslim.

    Compass Direct says the Church of Iran pastor who has been on death row since his blasphemy conviction in September 2010 “is in deteriorating health,” according to a member of Nadarkhani’s denomination, who requested anonymity.

    http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=368421

  18. ian vincent Says:

    Breaking: Youcef Nadarkhani has been released from jail in Iran, acquitted of apostasy (death penalty), and sentenced to time served for evangelizing Muslims. He is now home with his family after spending 1,062 days in prison for his Christian faith.

    Thanks to the LORD. It is wonderful how so many people prayed for him. Our family also kept him in prayer these last two years.

  19. ian vincent Says:

    http://aclj.org/iran/youcef-freed

    Let’s keep praying for the hundreds of our brothers in sisters still in jail in Iran.

    Remember also Asia Bibi in Pakistan.

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