Nadarkhani: The Iranian Embassy makes a statement
Iranian Court of Appeal still to issue final verdict.
The Iranian Christian Yuseuf Nadarkhani still awaits the decision as to whether he will be hanged for apostasy.
The background to this horrific case is that Nadarkhani was arrested in 2009 following his attempt to register a Christian Church. In September 2010 he was sentenced to "hang until somehow his soul is taken from him". The Iranian Supreme Court largely upheld this ruling in July 2011.
Nadarkhani has now been given four opportunities to recant his Christianity; on each of those occasions he is reported to have refused. It is now understood that the sentence is being reconsidered. The sentence has been condemned by both the US State department and the UK Foreign Office.
Following a protest at the London Embassy earlier today, the following official statement has now been released:
The Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran in London renounces the published news regarding the death penalty for Mr Yousof Nadarkhani and announces that the Court of Appeal in the Islamic Republic of Iran has not issued any verdict on his case.
Accordingly, the allegations to the issue of the death penalty for the above mentioned, is unsubstantiated.
It is not clear what published news is being renounced, and it seems that the message is that we should wait and see what the Court of Appeal will decide (presumably on their second consideration).
But what is clear is that the London Embassy is taking the campaign against the hanging sufficiently seriously to make a formal statement. It also appears that the various representations being made to the London Embassy are being passed on.
The CSW campaign website against this pending execution is here.
David Allen Green is legal correspondent of the New Statesman