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10/05/2019 Iran (International Christian Concern) – Nearly one week has passed since Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani has begun a hunger strike from Evin Prison, where he is serving a 10-year jail sentence. He began the hunger strike in response to the Education Ministry’s decision to withhold his sons certificate of completing the academic year because they have failed to complete the required Islamic classes.

This was the very issue which led to Pastor Nadarkhani’s first arrest almost a decade prior. At the time, he was given a death sentence but it was later overturned because of international protest. He has since been resentenced on new charges of “forming a house church” and “promoting Zionist Christianity.”

Pastor Nadarkhani has begun this hunger strike to raise awareness about Iran’s discriminatory practices towards Christian children. According to a letter from the Pastor obtained by Christian Solidarity Worldwide and penned at the start of his hunger strike:

“This is the cry of a father, unjustly imprisoned. Also, it is now 11 years old that I am fighting on legal grounds to assert their rights. From tomorrow I start a hunger strike. I appeal to the Minister of National Education with this act. I hope that the minister will heed this appeal and that he will do, in accordance with the law, what is necessary to put an end to the injustices that my family is suffering as Christians.

My decision is motivated by the necessity to defend my children as members of the Christian minority who are violated by discriminatory measures taken at the initiative of officials of the Ministries of Information and National Education. The National Education Ministry has decided to ban the registration of my children as Christians. As part of its measures, they were not provided with the school report card that would allow them to pursue higher education.”

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