By Dan Wooding
Founder of ASSIST Ministries
RASHT, IRAN (ANS) -- It was a bad Christmas for Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani, the Church of Iran pastor who, according to Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), has been returned to jail on an earlier charge.
In September, a court acquitted Pastor Nadarkhani of apostasy, but sentenced him to three years for evangelizing Muslims. Since he had already spent close to three years in Lakan Prison in Rasht, the pastor was released after posting bail.
However, CSW sources now report that Pastor Nadarkhani has now been returned to jail on the orders of the director of Lakan Prison, who claimed he had been released several days too early due to the insistence of his lawyer, Mohammed Ali Dadkhah.
In November, Pastor Nadarkhani was a special guest at CSW’s National Conference in London, England, where he thanked all who had prayed and petitioned for him during his initial incarceration.
Mervyn Thomas, CSW's Chief Executive told the ASSIST News Service: “We are disappointed to hear Pastor Nadarkhani has been returned to prison in such an irregular manner. The timing is insensitive and especially sad for his wife and sons, who must have been looking forward to celebrating Christmas with him for the first time in three years.
“We hope that Pastor Nadarkhani will be released without delay once this alleged sentence has been fully served. We are also asking for prayers for the pastor's safety, and for his family at this difficult time.”
Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) is a Christian organization working for religious freedom through advocacy and human rights, in the pursuit of justice.