By BosNewsLife Middle East Service
TEHRAN, IRAN (BosNewsLife)– Christians in Iran and around the world were praying and fasting Wednesday, April 11, for Iranian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani who celebrated his 35th birthday in prison where he awaited possible execution on charges of “apostasy”, or abandoning Islam.
“This is now the third birthday that he has been in prison having been held for over 900 days,” said Jason DeMars, director of the Present Truth Ministries group, who assists the pastor with advocacy.
DeMars had earlier asked Christians worldwide to “honor his birthday” to “fast and pray for his strength, wisdom, peace and release from prison” on April 11.
It was not immediately clear how many Christians were involved in the prayers Wednesday, April 11, but there have been demonstrations demanding his release in several countries.
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Amid international pressure, Nadarkhani was allowed a visit by one of his two children on April 2, his son’s birthday. He has also been in contact with his wife, Fatema Pasindedih, said Firouz Khandjani, a Church of Iran council member, said in an interview with BosNewsLife.
The pastor has been detained since 2009 when he was captured in his home city of Rasht to register his house church, which is part of the Church of Iran movement.
He was later sentenced to death, though a court in Gilan province asked a final opinion from Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Khameini, a move critics saw as an attempt to make someone else responsible for his execution.
Iranian officials have denied wrongdoing, saying the pastor is a “criminal”.