Iranian Christian pastor Youcef Nadarkhani maintains his Christian faith in good spirits as he awaits his verdict in an Iranian prison.
Concern arose two weeks ago when it was reported security agents were pushing religious Islamic literature on Nadarkhani during his stay in prison.
Christian organizations suggested such Islamic literature could be an attempt to entrap Nadarkhani by causing him to blaspheme against Islam.
As the American Center for Law and Justice confirms, Nadarkhani has yet to be questioned about the Islamic material, and remains in good spirits as he awaits his verdict.
“This morning, ACLJ attorneys confirmed with Pastor Youcef’s attorney in Iran, Mohammad Ali Dadkhah, that Pastor Youcef is alive and being treated well by prison officials,” reported the ACLJ.
Nadarkhani was originally arrested for protesting in Oct. 2009. His charge was then changed to apostasy for attempting to evangelize Muslims, for which he was found guilty in the local Gilan province court.
He appealed his case in Dec. 2010 to Iran’s Supreme Court. The case was then passed back down to the lower Gilan province court, which in turn passed it to Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei for review.
Khamenei has ultimate authority over Iran’s judiciary matters. Although Dadkhah originally predicted Khamenei to announce the verdict by Nov. 2, he has yet to address the court or the public.
On Wednesday, the ACLJ announced the court informed local attorneys it will announce Nadarkhani’s verdict if Khamenei fails to do so within one month.
“A ruling from the court could be out by mid-December,” the ACLJ contended.
Nadarkhani’s case received widespread international attention. Countries including the United States, Britain and France have spoken out about the death sentence given to the Iranian pastor and have urged the courts to set him free.
One Middle Eastern analyst told the ACLJ that international pressure “may be the only reason [Nadarkhani is] still alive.”
The ACLJ said the international pressure on Nadakrhani’s case has helped all Christians in Iran.
Nadarkhani’s defense lawyer Mohammed Ali Dadkhah told the ACLJ that the Iranian court is proceeding with caution in other potential apostasy cases.
“We recognize that Pastor Youcef’s case has potential to greatly impact other religious minorities persecuted for their faith in Iran,” the ACLJ said.