Sorry about the lack of posts the last few days. I’ve been out of touch with the news while playing (badly) in a chess tournament. Anyway, I’ve got some time before my last round, so I checked to see what’s new in the case of Pastor Yousef, and found out that–surprise!–it’s gone to the highest authority. The provincial goobers who turned an unknown Christian pastor into an international cause celebre have had the case taken out of their hands, and it’s now before Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei. According to Jay Sekulow of the American Center for Law and Justice, writing in the Washington Post:
Breaking news reports out of Iran provide that the state court of Gilan, which recently demanded that Christian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani recant his faith or face execution, has delayed its written decision. As we predicted last week, the judges have sent the case to the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei. According to Youcef’s lawyer, Mohammad Ali Dadkhah, “the court has decided to ask the opinion of Mr. (Ali) Khamenei.” Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei is an Islamic jurist and the final arbiter of questions of Sharia law. In Iran, he is seen as a guardian protecting Iran.
The step to involve the most powerful leader in Iran demonstrates that Iran is feeling the pressure. Involving the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei in a case before a regional court is unusual. We can be certain if the lies spread by Iran were true – that Youcef was instead convicted of rape, extortion, and Zionism – the court would not seek the advice of the Supreme Ayatollah.
The readers of this blog have played a crucial role in raising international awareness of this unjust ruling. Now that Iran’s Supreme Leader will be considering the case, it is imperative that our top diplomat, Secretary of State Clinton, call for Pastor Youcef’s unconditional release. Continue to keep the pressure on Iran, share this story, call your Member of Congress, and join the over 125,000 who have signed our petition. Let’s do everything we can to see that Pastor Youcef is freed.
In the last few days, appeals have been coming in from around the world for Pastor Yousef, from, among others, members of Brazil’s Senate, members of the U.S. Congress, Canada’s Catholic bishops, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the National Council of Churches in India (though not, to all evidence from their Web sites, either the World or U.S. National Council of Churches, which apparently are too busy saving the world to bother with the fate of one Christian pastor), Amnesty International, etc.
I may have been out of the loop, but I’ve been praying for Pastor Yousef. Y’all keep on doing so as well!