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Iranian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani was back in court over the weekend. Many believed he was going to receive additional charges. But, Voice of the Martyrs' Todd Nettleton reports a dramtic turn in the persecuted pastor's favor.
"The court withdrew the guilty verdicts for apostasy and the resulting death sentence. They pronounced him guilty of acts of evangelism to Muslims, and sentenced him to three years in prison," Nettleton says. "He had been in prison two years and 11 months. So, they accepted a bail payment and allowed him to go free one month early. He is back with his family right now."
Nettleton says it's a miracle. Clearly, the international pressure had an impact.
"I think if nobody had heard of Pastor Youcef this would be this would be a much different story and I don't think he'd be with his family right now," Nettleton says.
"Iran is interested in what the countries in the European Union think of them. Their interest in some of the other countries in the world, but they don't really care what the United States thinks because our two governments are so at odds."
Christians worldwide were surprised by this move. Nettleton expected charges like, "espionage, or spying, and then they could execute him and say, 'Well, it wasn't a religious crime; it wasn't religious persecution. He was guilty of spying. He was guilty of espionage."
Keep praying. Sometimes after Christians are released they face persecution and even death.