Apostasy, the very definition of a victimless crime from an individualists point of view, in Iran, a capitol offense.
Follow-up Report: Yosef Nadarkhani’s Death Penalty for Apostasy
Translated by Laleh Gillani
HRANA News Agency – According to the latest unconfirmed reports, Iranian Supreme Court has found deficiencies and flaws in the case related to Yosef Nadarkhani’s death penalty on charges of apostasy. Family members close to Yosef Nadarkhani have reported that Iranian Supreme Court’s opinion includes three options:
- The case may be returned to the lower court for re-examination.
- Previous charges may be withdrawn while new charges are filed.
- The case may be closed, and charges dropped.
Since the ruling by Iranian Supreme Court hasn’t officially been delivered to Yosef Nadarkhani’s attorneys, they were unable to confirm the details reported by his family. Verbal information given to the defendant and family members indicates that citing article 167 of Iranian Constitution, Gilan Province Court, Branch 11, intends to question the defendant again in order to determine whether he believes in Islam or not. If he is a Muslim, Yosef Nadarkhani must be released. If it is determined that he is a Christian, he may repent from his faith. Otherwise, if he insists on his beliefs, the death penalty must be carried out, and Yosef Nadarkhani will be executed.
Article 167 of Iranian Constitution states, “Judges have the duty to find the basis of their rulings in the legal code. If such a basis doesn’t exist, they must cite reliable Islamic sources or a valid fatwa from which they have drawn a judgment in order to issue a verdict. Judges may not refuse to hear cases or issue rulings only because the case before them isn’t covered in the legal code, or there may be shortcomings or conflicts in the law.”
Family members close to Yosef Nadarkhani have reported that since the case hasn’t been referred back to the lower court in order to carry out the sentence, it is possible that Yosef Nadarkhani will be retried, and new investigations are conducted.
HRANA will strive to report further accurate details given the sensitivity surrounding this case. More reports will be released when additional details become available.
The content of first report issued by HRANA is as follows:
On June 28, 2011, Iranian Supreme Court confirmed Yosef Nadarkhani’s death penalty and refused his objection to the sentence issued by the lower court.
According to a report by Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA), Yosef Nadarkhani has been charged with apostasy at the age of nineteen and converting to Christianity. Iranian judicial authorities also state that Yosef Nadarkhani has preached Christianity for years.
Accordingly, Gilan Province Court, Branch 11, has sentenced Yosef Nadarkhani to death penalty on charges of apostasy and preaching Christianity.
Yosef Nadarkhani has been locked up in Rasht Prison since October 12, 2009. If the death penalty is carried out, it will be the first official hanging for apostasy and conversation to Christianity in the last twenty years.
On December 3, 1990, Pastor Hussein Sodmand was hanged in Mashhad Prison for refusing to give up his Christian faith. Pastor Sodmand is the only priest who has been officially executed by the Islamic Judiciary Branch for apostasy and conversation to Christianity.