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ACLJ: Sources in Iran: Execution Warrant May Have Been Issued for Christian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani

(Washington, DC) - The American Center for Law and Justice, focusing on constitutional and international law, said today it has received information that Iran may have issued an execution order for Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, who was sentenced to death because he refused to recant his Christian faith. The ACLJ is working to determine whether Pastor Youcef is still alive.

"As of today, we cannot confirm that Pastor Youcef is alive," said Jordan Sekulow, Executive Director of the ACLJ. "The news out of Iran is not encouraging. With Iran now dominating international headlines because of its military actions, it's clear Iran may have decided to move forward by issuing an execution order, knowing that the world's attention is focused elsewhere right now. We also know that Iran's top officials can reject the execution order and release Pastor Youcef if they so desire. We will keep the international pressure on Iran to free Pastor Youcef."

It is still unclear at the present time whether Pastor Youcef would have a right of appeal from the execution order. The head of Iran’s Judiciary Chief, Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani, must approve publicly held executions, but only a small percentage of executions are carried out in public. Most executions in Iran are conducted in secret.

This disturbing news comes as more than 35,000 Americans have signed on to an ACLJ petition urging members of Congress to support a resolution condemning Iran for its actions and calling for the immediate release of the Christian pastor.

The ACLJ continues to reach out through its global social media campaign to generate support for Pastor Youcef. A Twitter campaign involves nearly 1,600 individuals who are sending one Tweet a day on behalf of Pastor Nadarkhani. That campaign is now reaching more than 345,000 Twitter accounts in nearly 180 countries and territories. The goal is to reach one million people a day on behalf of Pastor Nadarkhani.

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. and is online at www.aclj.org.

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