Christian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani’s attorney in Iran, Mohammad Ali Dadkhah, who we have been working with closely on this case, has just confirmed to the ACLJ that there has been no retrial ordered by the Iranian Supreme Court.
As we have been explaining, the media’s reports about a “retrial” in this case mistakenly refer to a hearing that already occurred on September 25-28th, in which Pastor Youcef was ordered to recant his Christian faith or die. As you know, he responded, “I cannot.”
His attorney in Iran also confirmed that the court has requested that Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei weigh in on Pastor Youcef’s death sentence. Dadkhah says that while the Ayatollah can delay providing an opinion as long as he wants, he believes the response will come within the next 20 days.
Dadkhah stressed that NOW is the best time in the last two years to put pressure on the Iranian regime (and especially the Ayatollah). He also said that it is important that the United Nations (U.N.), the Special Rapporteurs on Iran and freedom of conscience, and the Pope be pressured to call for Pastor Youcef’s release.
Eighty-nine Members of Congress just sent a bipartisan letter to Secretary of State Clinton urging her to engage the U.N. and pressure Iran to free Pastor Youcef. The ACLJ, through our international affiliate the European Centre for Law and Justice (ECLJ), has also sent a letter directly to the U.N. urging direct action to engage Iran to save this Pastor’s life.
As Pastor Youcef’s attorney said, now is the time to engage. If you have not already done so, please join tens of thousands of Americans in signing our petition to pressure Iran for Pastor Youcef’s release, and continue to share his story on Facebook and Twitter.
Dadkhah also confirmed that he has appealed his own nine-year prison sentence for representing human rights cases, like Pastor Youcef’s. His appeal could takes months to be considered and Iranian authorities could pick him up and enforce that sentence at any time, leaving Pastor Youcef without legal representation in Iran.
Dadkhah further indicated to us that the Iranian regime is now threatening him for embarrassing Iran and the Iranian judicial system. At this point, he may no longer be able to speak freely to the American press. He is clearly weighing the cost of facing imprisonment, which leaves Youcef with no representation, and no longer asking for international pressure in statements to the American media.
We have been speaking out, asking for congressional letters, statements from the United Nations, and international pressure directly at the request of Dadkhah, Youcef’s attorney. The only reason this case has gone to the Ayatollah, is because of international pressure. The only reason that Iranian state media has been trying to back peddle away from the execution sentence is because of international pressure, and it is the only reason that Pastor Youcef is still alive. We must keep up the international pressure in order to save his life.
We will continue to keep you updated on Pastor Youcef's situation as we are able. Please contune to pray for Pastor Youcef.