US Renews Call For Iranian Pastor's Release

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The U.S. is again calling on Iran to release a Christian pastor who has been jailed for more than 1,000 days.

Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani was sentenced to death for apostasy. Although he was brought up in a secular Muslim home, Nadarkhani insists he never practiced Islam as an adult.

Since being imprisoned in 2009, Nadarkhani has repeatedly rejected demands that he recant his faith in Jesus Christ.

The U.S. State Department said the 34-year-old evangelical pastor is wrongly facing execution "for simply following his faith."

The American Center for Law and Justice says Iran has scheduled a new court date for Nadarkhani on September 8, but it's unclear whether he'll face new charges at that time.

In a letter released in May, Nadarkhani wrote, "In the flesh I wish these days to end, yet I have surrendered myself to God's will."

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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