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A Christian Pastor in Iran Is Facing a Death Sentence

Now that Amanda Knox is on her way to Seattle (and I wish her well), can the media share a little love with Youcef Nadarkhani? From Associated Baptist Press:

FALLS CHURCH, Va. (ABP) – An international Baptist leader called on Baptists around the world to call on their government leaders to advocate on behalf of an Iranian pastor sentenced to death after refusing to recant his faith.

Last week the White House condemned the reported impending execution of Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, 34, for leaving Islam as a teenager. Over the weekend Iran claimed his conviction was not for apostasy but violent crimes including rape.

Raimundu Barretto, director of freedom and justice for the Baptist World Alliance, said Oct. 3 he had lobbied Iran’s representatives in Washington, the United Nations and the United States ambassador-at-large for religious freedom to do all they can to “reverse this terrible verdict.”

“It is distressing and outrageous for someone to be sentenced to death for a crime of conscience,” Barreto said. “We firmly stand in solidarity with Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, are praying for his release, and are making all efforts possible to influence the outcome of this situation.”

Barreto, who is Brazilian, said he also contacted Brazil’s U.N. office because Brazil and Iran have a “somewhat good relationship.”

Barreto called on the world’s Baptists to make representation to their own governments on Nadarkhani’s behalf.

“We encourage Baptists in different countries to call on their government representatives to increase communication with the Iranian government on this situation,” he said.

Lord, watch over your servant Youcef and strengthen him in his time of need. Confessing that all things are possible with you, we pray for his quick release. But if this cup may not pass from him, may his bold and faithful witness serve to accomplish your will more perfectly in this world and fit him for a crown in the world that is to come. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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