Iranian Christian Leader Youcef Nadarkhani Charged With New Crimes After Escaping Apostasy Sentence

Nadarkhani greeted by his wife, Fatemeh, on his release from prison, September 2012. (Courtesy/World Watch Monitor)
Nadarkhani greeted by his wife, Fatemeh, on his release from prison, September 2012. (Courtesy/World Watch Monitor)

An Iranian Christian leader once sentenced to death for apostasy, Youcef Nadarkhani, was charged on July 24 with acting against national security.

Nadarkhani, who belongs to the non-Trinitarian Church of Iran, was released on July 24 on the condition of raising 100 million Touman bail (US$ 33,000) within a week, or face arrest.

He was also accused of being Zionist and informed that he had no right to evangelize.

Nadarkhani was initially arrested in 2009 and charged with apostasy after questioning why his children’s school only taught Islam in their religious education, which he said was unconstitutional.

His wife and he were also arrested on May 13—and released the same day—as part of a clampdown in the northern city of Rasht that saw raids on 10 Christian families (see below).

Meanwhile Christian Maryam Naghash Zargaran, serving four years in prison for the same charge as Nadarkhani, has had her request for unconditional release (on health grounds) turned down by an Iranian court; Mohabat News reports that this is because the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence says it does not want her freed.

Zargaran is 20 days into a hunger strike. She is seeking release in view of the inadequate treatment of her health issues that have left her with very low blood pressure, pain and numb feet. Prison medical staff say her condition is serious.

Zargaran has been released twice for medical treatment—in October 2015 and in June—and both times was forced to return to prison before the treatment was complete.

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SOURCE: World Watch Monitor