Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani, once sentenced to death in Iran for apostasy, was the third Christian convert recently released from prison as part of the government’s annual amnesty marking the anniversary of the 1979 revolution.
Originally sentenced to death in 2010 for leaving Islam, Nadarkhani was freed on Feb. 26, following the pardon and release earlier in the month of Hadi Rahimi and Zaman Fadaei, religious freedom advocates said. While welcoming the releases, they noted that those released had already served significant portions of their sentences in cases marred by legal irregularities even by Iranian standards.
“Their pardon hardly addresses the injustice of the original sentencing and suffering that the men and their families endured,” said a specialist on Iran with Middle East Concern (MEC) on condition of anonymity.
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