Displaying 30+ Stories
Allow Ads

Once Sentenced to Death for Apostasy, Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani Released in Iran National Amnesty

Iranian Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani. (Photo by Christian Solidarity Worldwide)

Iranian church leader Yousef Nadarkhani was released Sunday as part of a national amnesty issued by Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei to commemorate the anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) reports its sources have confirmed that the pastor is now free and is still in Tehran to finish some formal procedures related to his release. He will join his family in Rasht as soon as these formalities are completed.

Nadarkhani, 46, was serving a six-year sentence in Evin prison in Tehran for "propagating house churches", accused of "promoting Zionist Christianity."

slider img 2As CBN News reported in 2016, Nadarkhani was one of four Christians initially arrested in Rasht in May of 2016 during a series of raids by security agents on Christian homes. While the men were released on bail in 2017, they were re-arrested in another series of raids on two separate days in 2018.

Iranian authorities accused Nadarkhani of allegedly endangering the country's national security with his Christian activities.

In June 2020, Nadarkhani and one of the other imprisoned men, Deacon Saheb Fadaie, who CSW's sources confirm was also released as part of the recent amnesty, had their sentences reduced to six years on appeal.

"We welcome the long-overdue release of Pastor Nadarkhani and Deacon Fadaie, but note that they have lost years of their life in prison on false charges as a result of Iran's continuing criminalization of the Christian faith, among other religions and beliefs," CSW's Founder President Mervyn Thomas said in a statement. 

"We call on the Iranian authorities to ensure that these men are permitted to enjoy their freedom without further harassment or intimidation, and continue to call for the immediate and unconditional release of all others who are currently imprisoned on account of their religion or belief," Thomas added. 

***Please sign up for CBN Newsletters and download the CBN News app to ensure you keep receiving the latest news.*

Last April, Nadarkhani was temporarily released from prison but was required to return after five days. The reason for this temporary release remains unreported, according to the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission overseen by the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. 

Nadarkhani has been in and out of prison for his faith numerous times. In 2010, he was sentenced to death for converting from Islam to Christianity. He was later acquitted.

What is faith and what does the Bible say about faith? Click here for answers.

Need prayer? We’re available 24/7. Call (800) 700-7000 or request prayer.

Learn why Truth Matters at CBN News.
CBN Partners provide hope to those who are suffering! You can help bring hope today!
Bring Hope

Did you know?

God is everywhere—even in the news. That’s why we view every news story through the lens of faith. We are committed to delivering quality independent Christian journalism you can trust. But it takes a lot of hard work, time, and money to do what we do. Help us continue to be a voice for truth in the media by supporting CBN News for as little as $1.