Giving hope to persecuted Christians since 1995
Select Page

Iran Freed a Christian Pastor, Now Imprisons His Muslim Lawyer
ICC Note:
Weeks after Christians and human rights groups worldwide rejoiced over the release of Iranian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani in early September, the Christian’s lawyer, Mohammad Ali Dadkhah, was thrown in prison, reports the National Review Online. Dadkhah had successfully defended Youcef Nadarkhani, which led to the pastor’s release and acquittal of blasphemy charges. During Nadarkhani’s imprisonment, Dadkhah was issued a nine year prison sentence and was barred from practicing or teaching law for ten years. However, due to international attention on Nadarkhani’s case, Dadkhah was able to work out an agreement with Iranian officials that allowed him to continue representing the pastor. Following Nadarkhani’s release, however, attention to the case has died down, allowing Iranian officials to break the agreement and throw Dadkhah behind bars. Though Muslim, Dadkhah is in prison for no other reason than defending a Christian in court. While international pressure played a vital role in securing Nadarkhani’s freedom, Mr. Dadkhah needs the same. ICC joins the ACLJ, Amnesty International, and other human rights organizations in calling for Dadkhah’s immediate release.
By David French
10/4/2012 Iran (National Review Online)- Several weeks ago, many of us rejoiced as Iran — against all odds — released Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani after first condemning him to death for apostasy. Pastor Nadarkhani faced a nightmare that Western Christians (thankfully) have not faced for centuries — a demand to recant his faith or face execution. Pastor Nadarkhani again and again refused to renounce Christ, and just when many of us thought his death was imminent, Iran freed him from prison.
But Iran is still Iran, and now it has moved against Pastor Nadarkhani’s heroic Muslim lawyer, Mohammed Ali Dadkhah, detaining him and ordering him to serve a lengthy prison term. His crime? Providing pro bono legal representation to persecuted religious minorities. In the perverse logic of Iran’s theocratic regime, this representation constitutes “aiding and abetting” his clients alleged (and often imaginary) crimes.
It’s worth knowing more about Mr. Dadkhah. If Pastor Nadarkhani is a hero of the Christian faith, then Mr. Dadkhah certainly is a hero of the Islamic faith. From our ACLJ blog on his detention:
He co-founded the Defenders of Human Rights Center along with Nobel laureate Shirin Ebadi and others to defend human rights in Iran. In addition to defending Pastor Youcef, Dadkhah has bravely defended numerous political and religious prisoners, including 12 Christians who were tried this past Easter Sunday in Iran for their faith.
Mr. Dadakhah is not the only freedom-loving Muslim suffering Iranian persecution:
As Amnesty International reports, Iranian authorities closed the CDHR in 2008. Other lawyers from the center including Abdolfattah Soltani and Mohammad Seyfzade are serving multi-year sentences for their work. Iran has also imprisoned Narges Mohammadi, a mother of two, who had served as the executive chairperson of CDHR – only recently temporarily releasing her for medical treatment. In fact, the Nobel laureate who co-founded the CDHR with Dadkhah fled Iran in 2009, remaining in exile ever since.
As we see the Middle East burn (once again) with jihadist rage, Americans rightly ask, “Where are the Islamic defenders of liberty?” The answer — sadly — is often “in jail” or “dead.” In Iraq I saw al-Qaeda’s awful retribution against anyone who dared question their rule, and in Iran we see the regime’s response to those courageous Muslims who defend the most basic human rights.

[Full Story]