Jewish Journal

Iran upholds Christian’s death sentence

by Brad A. Greenberg

July 3, 2011 | 11:07 am

I, for one, am 100 percent shocked that Iran’s supreme court would uphold the death penalty for apostasy. Wait a minute ... no I’m not. This is a country that only relatively recently halted execution by stoning and hangs men for being gay.

Here’s the story from AKI:

A lower Iranian court sentenced the priest, Yousef Nadarkhani, from the city of Rasht on the Black Sea, in December 2010 after finding him guilty of apostasy. He has been held for almost two years in Lakan prison and was arrested in October, 2009 while attempting to register his evangelical church in the city of Rasht.

The young priest was born to a Muslim family but denies he was ever a Muslim.

See, the question for the high court of the Islamic Republic of Iran wasn’t whether such punishment was cruel and unusual, but whether the death sentence for a Christian priest who was born to a Muslim family was correct. In other words, had Nadarkhani converted out of Islam or was he never a Muslim to begin with?

The court upheld the former. But how much of their ruling was about applying a law that is so medieval it’s absurd as opposed to just about persecuting a Christian leader?

(Hat tip: Howard Friedman)

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