Iranian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani and Wife Released from Prison, 3 Church Members Remain In Custody

Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani has been freed – yet again – from an Iranian prison.
Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani has been freed – yet again – from an Iranian prison.

An Iranian pastor arrested last week has been released along with his wife, but three members of their church remain in custody, according to Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW).

Youcef Nadarkhani, a pastor in the Church of Iran, was arrested with his wife during a raid on their home in Rasht in the north of the country on May 13.

According to CSW’s sources, they were released on the same day, but three other church members are still being detained.

Yasser Mossayebzadeh, Saheb Fadaie and Mohammadreza Omidi (Youhan) have all been previously detained by Iranian authorities. Omidi was one of four Christians sentenced to 80 lashes in 2013 for drinking alcohol during a communion service and possessing a receiver and satellite antenna.

The homes of Fadaie and Omidi were raided on May 13, and their Bibles, computers and mobile phones were reportedly confiscated.

CSW say 10 Christian homes were raided on the same day.

Pastor Nadarkhani was first arrested in 2009 after he went to his children’s school to question the Muslim monopoly on Iranian education, which he considered unconstitutional.

He was charged with apostasy and sentenced to death in 2010.

Despite being asked repeatedly in court hearings to renounce his faith in order to avoid the death penalty, Nadarkhani refused.

He was released from prison on 8 September 2012, following his acquittal on apostasy charges, though he was found guilty of evangelising Muslims, for which he received three years.

He was detained again on Christmas day 2012, and released on 7 January 2013.

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SOURCE: Christian Today
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