Nadarkhani was arrested in 2009 for the crime of apostasy because he allegedly abandoned Islam for Christianity. As a pastor, Iranian clerics believe that Nadarkhani was preaching in order to convert Muslims.
Before his last hearing Wednesday, Nadarkhani had been given three previous chances to repent, and all three times he has refused. After his final refusal Wednesday, no verdict has been announced, but many expect that he could be put to death as soon as Friday.
The case has slowly garnered international attention, and there are a number of Christian rights groups advocating for his release.
U.S. House Speaker John Boehner also has spoken out against Iran. “While Iran’s government claims to promote tolerance, it continues to imprison many of its people because of their faith. This goes beyond the law to an issue of fundamental respect for human dignity. I urge Iran’s leaders to abandon this dark path, spare [Nadarkhani’s] life, and grant him a full and unconditional release,” said Boehner.
He should be released, of course, but even that may not be enough. The government may assassinate him as it does with political and religious dissidents from time to time, or the people themselves may kill him, as nearly happened in Afghanistan a few years ago. Amnesty International seems to be nearly asleep on this case. And our best and brightest clamor to have dinner with Nadarkhani’s would-be murderer — until they get called out on it, anyway.