The investigations in the case of an Iranian pastor on death row were sloppy and incomplete, and rejected by the Supreme Court, the ISNA news agency reported Tuesday.
The Supreme Court, whose confirmation is needed before convicts are executed, said in a statement that due to incomplete and sloppy investigations, the case of pastor Youssef Naderkhani had been returned to the lower court in Gilan, DPA reported.
Naderkhani, 32, converted to Christianity in 1998 and headed a small Protestant community in the northern Caspian Sea province of Gilan.
Conversion in Iran is regarded as apostasy. Naderkhani was arrested 11 years later. As he did not repent his conversion, the main condition for being spared from the apostasy charges, he was sentenced to death.
But the Supreme Court said that only after renewed and proper investigations would it follow the case again, according to a statement cited by ISNA.
The pastor's lawyer, Mohammad Ali Dadkhah, has repeatedly expressed the hope that the death sentence would be revoked.
Several Western countries have condemned the sentence and called for a revision.
The vast majority of Iranians are Shiite Muslims, with Sunni Muslims, Christians, mainly Armenians, Jews, Zoroastrians and Bahais in the minority.
All religious minorities are acknowledged in Iran except those belonging to the Bahai sect.