Iran continues to pressure Christian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani’s attorney, Mohammad Ali Dadkhah, to confess to crimes he did not commit.
A new report indicates that Dadkhah, who has been disbarred and sentenced to 9 years in prison for representing people like pastor Youcef, has been extensively interrogated and pressured to “confess on TV or go to prison.”
“Tomorrow is my last day to either make television confessions or go to prison. I will go to prison, and I will not [be forced to] leave my homeland.” . . .
“They told me that if I didn’t confess, they would enforce my sentence. They talked to me for long periods of time and I did not accept it. I will say now that if one day I say things, they are not credible and I must have been under conditions where I was forced to say those things. I hope God maintains my power.”
“Under intense pressure, they asked me to say before television cameras that the Defenders of Human Rights Center (DHRC) received funds from foreigners, meaning that we were operators for foreigners, which is not true.” . . .
“We were a number of lawyers who for our love for our land, our capabilities, and our professional knowledge started the Center and we worked there. Among Iranian lawyers, perhaps a group like ours is rare, a group that has knowledge, capability, and awareness about their work and is so affectionate towards our homeland.”
Dadkhah, a world-renowned Muslim human rights attorney in Iran, founded the DHRC along with Nobel laureate Shirin Ebadi and others to defend human rights in Iran.
Dadkhah reportedly stated that he has been ordered to “to go talk on television and say that he received money from abroad,” which is a criminal offence in Iran. Dadkhah maintains that he has never accepted foreign money or awards “accompanied with money.” He also stated, “I never received any money from my clients whom I defended for their human rights and I consider this my honor.”
The report also states that Dadkhah said, “Those who have violated my human rights should answer” for what happens to his clients, like Pastor Youcef, if his prison sentence is enforced.
It was just last week that Pastor Youcef released his first public statement since his execution order was upheld in a letter written to his supporters.
We are continuing to monitor this situation and urge Iran to both release Pastor Youcef and allow Dadkhah continue defending the human rights of those persecuted in Iran.