The ACLJ has sent a letter to the United Nations (U.N.) calling for pressure to be placed on Iran to spare the life of Christian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani and secure his immediate and unconditional release.
We submitted this letter on Pastor Youcef’s behalf through our international affiliate, the European Centre for Law and Justice (ECLJ), which holds special Consultative Status with the United Nations.
This letter, which includes a copy of the original Iranian Supreme Court verdict sentencing Pastor Youcef to death for his faith, highlights Pastor Youcef’s situation in light of Iran’s “deplorable” record on human rights.
The letter noted that a fellow pastor and close personal friend of Pastor Youcef:
described the current situation for Christians in the Middle East as akin to “the final decision in Germany” – the strategic eradication of Jews under Hitler’s regime. Tragically, he also said that “international reaction [to the religious apartheid in the Middle East] is also like the time of Hitler. They waited and didn’t react until it was too late . . . we are in the same situation.”
The letter explains that “Pastor Youcef’s conviction and death sentence are inconsistent with the Iranian Constitution and the nation’s obligations under international law.” To execute Pastor Youcef, or to even hold him in prison, for his faith violates articles 13, 14, and 23 of the Iranian Constitution, which protect the fundamental right of religious freedom. In addition, the letter notes that Iran is a signatory to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, both of which enshrine this fundamental human right.
As we reminded the U.N., Pastor Youcef’s situation “has tremendous implications for all Christians and religious minorities in Iran, and is yet another indicator of the regime’s disregard for basic human rights and freedoms.”
In addition to calling on the U.N. to demand Pastor Youcef’s immediate and unconditional release, we have also asked the U.N. to “immediately undertake a fact-finding mission into Iran requesting an in-person investigation into this case with access to both Pastor Youcef and his lawyer, Mohammad Ali Dadkhah” and to urge the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to “publically denounce this case.”
You can read the full letter here.
It is crucial that we continue to call on the U.N., the OIC, freedom loving peoples around the world, and our own Secretary of State to keep pressure on Iran for Pastor Youcef’s release. If you have not already done so, please sign our petition to Secretary of State Clinton today.
We are also able to report that our sources in Iran confirm that Pastor Youcef is still alive, as of today. We will continue to bring you the latest updates as we are able.