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ICC Note:
“For the first time, the Iranian regime has admitted to the world community that the case against Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani involves his Christian faith and religious activity, as there are new calls at the United Nations (UN) for his immediate release,” the American Center for Law and Justice reports.
By Tiffany Barrans
3/12/2012 Iran (ACLJ) – For the first time, the Iranian regime has admitted to the world community that the case against Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani involves his Christian faith and religious activity, as there are new calls at the United Nations (UN) for his immediate release.
As I sit in a room full of international media and representatives of UN member states at a meeting of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland, listening to Special Rapporteur Dr. Ahmed Shaheed present his report on human rights abuses in Iran, it is clear that ignorance is no longer an excuse for inaction. Without hesitation or trepidation, Special Rapporteur Dr. Shaheed specifically called for Pastor Youcef’s release.
Although the Special Rapporteur’s formal report did not mention Pastor Youcef or the systematic persecution of Christian communities in Iran, as he did in his last presentation, it is clear after his oral presentation today to the Human Rights Council that he is gravely concerned about Pastor Youcef’s case. Special Rapporteur Dr. Shaheed requested that “the Iranian authorities reassess the cases of all those listed in [his] report and to reconsider the aforementioned cases presented here today.” He also urged them to consider the release of “Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani who has been sentenced to death for apostasy . . . .”
After having several meetings directly with the Special Rapporteur on human rights in Iran and with delegates from key nations, I am encouraged that some at the UN are working to ensure that Iran immediately and unconditionally releases Pastor Youcef. Of particular import, we would like to thank the European Union, Canada, Sweden, France, Spain, Mexico, Norway, Belgium, Switzerland, Australia, United Kingdom, Germany, United States, Slovakia, Czech Republic, and Brazil for speaking out against religious persecution in Iran and calling for the release of prisoners of conscience.
The European Union stated that it has “followed closely” the “case of Pastor Nadarkhani, tried for apostasy,” and expressed concern for the condition of human rights in Iran, including the imprisonment of attorneys who represent human rights cases. You will recall that Iran has disbarred and sentenced Pastor Youcef’s Iranian attorney, Mohammad Ali Dadkhah, to nine years in prison for representing people like the persecuted pastor.

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