On 26 February Yousef Nadarkhani was released from prison, as part of a general amnesty in honour of the 44th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution. This follows the release of Zaman (Saheb) Fadaei and Hadi (Moslem) Rahimi earlier this month.
Yousef received international attention in 2010 when he was sentenced to death for apostasy. The sentence was later changed to become a three-year custodial sentence for “evangelising Muslims,” and he was released in 2012.
In May 2016, Yousef (along with his wife, Tina, and three other converts) was re-arrested in Rasht. The following year he and the three men arrested with him were each sentenced to 10 years in prison for “acting against the national security through propagating house churches and promoting Zionist Christianity.” Yousef was also sentenced to two years’ internal exile in the south of the country.
The 10-year sentence was upheld on appeal. Yousef was arrested at home in July 2018 (both he and his son were physically assaulted during the arrest) and taken to Evin Prison .
In June 2020, Yousef’s prison sentence was reduced to six years after a review of the 2017 sentences.
Iranian Christians rejoice that pastor Yousef has been released but remember that he had been imprisoned unjustly and that many Christian converts remain detained in Iran.
Prayer is requested that:
- Yousef will quickly adjust to life with his family and overcome the trauma of prison.
- Other Christians in Iran imprisoned for their faith will also be released
- Iran will stop the persecution of Christians and other faith communities