(Washington, DC) - The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) is applauding Rep. Joseph Pitts (R-PA) and others who introduced a resolution into the U.S. House of Representatives today condemning Iran for violating the human and religious rights of Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani and calling on Iran to release him immediately. The ACLJ says today's introduction of a House resolution condemning Iran and calling for Pastor Nadarkhani 's immediate release is an important step in an ongoing effort to keep the persecuted pastor alive and secure his release.
"What we know is that Pastor Nadarkhani is still alive today, thanks to the growing concern and support from people around the globe," said Jordan Sekulow, Executive Director of the ACLJ. "We're delighted that Secretary of State Clinton has also stepped forward in recent weeks to call attention to the Pastor's plight. This recent action taken by members of the U.S. Congress signifies an important step forward in raising this issue to a new level - keeping pressure on Iran and keeping Pastor Nadarkhani in the news. We are very grateful for the support of those Members of Congress who are standing for religious liberty and freedom and demanding that Iran release Pastor Nadarkhani immediately."
The ACLJ has been at the forefront of a global campaign to save the life of Pastor Nadarkhani, who is facing intense pressure by the Iranian government to recant his Christian beliefs and embrace Islam. Last summer, the Iranian Supreme Revolutionary Court upheld that under Shariah law, apostasy mandates death for those who refuse to embrace Islam. The death sentence and persecution by Iran violates international law and represents a significant human rights violation.
Today marks the 858th day of Pastor Nadarkhani's illegal detention. The ACLJ has launched a massive social media campaign to generate support for Pastor Nadarkhani. The Twitter campaign involves nearly 1,500 individuals who are sending one Tweet a day on behalf of Pastor Nadarkhani. That campaign is now reaching 305,415 Twitter accounts in over 180 countries. The goal is to reach one million people a day on behalf of Pastor Nadarkhani.
The resolution, H.Res. 556, introduced today by Rep. Joseph Pitts (R-PA), already has the support of seven Members of Congress, and given that 89 Members of Congress previously signed a letter on Pastor Nadarkhani's behalf, the ACLJ is urging others to support this resolution.
The resolution is clear: "Condemning the Government of Iran for its continued persecution, imprisonment, and sentencing of Youcef Nadarkhani on the charge of apostasy."
The resolution "condemns the Government of Iran for its state-sponsored persecution of religious minorities in the Islamic Republic of Iran" and its continued violation of international law. It calls for the government of Iran "to exonerate and immediately release Youcef Nadarkhani and all other individuals held or charged on account of their religion."
The resolution is posted here.
Led by Chief Counsel Jay Sekulow, the ACLJ focuses on constitutional law in the United States and works to protect the religious and human rights in the international arena through its work with global affiliates. The ACLJ is based in Washington, D.C.