Wrongfully imprisoned Christian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani has reportedly ended his three-week-long hunger strike in an Iranian prison. He was “protesting the regime's prohibition on his children’s ability to complete their education because they refuse to study Islam.”
Pastor Youcef’s son Youeil was reportedly not allowed to return to school and his son Daniel was not given a report card that would have allowed him to go to college.
Pastor Youcef’s children are not being allowed to further their education because they will not participate in the Muslim classes that are required, even though they were “fully paying students.”
Christian Solidarity Worldwide Chief Executive Merwyn Thomas said:
“Children should not be penalized because of their faith or that of their parents. Moreover, pastor Nadarkhani himself should not be in prison for having adopted a religion or belief of his choice in accordance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Iran is party.”
This is persecution upon persecution perpetrated by a hostile government on Pastor Youcef and his family.
Pastor Youcef was ripped away from his family in 2018 for practicing his faith. He was reportedly beaten while his family watched and his son was tasered.
We’ve previously told you that after his arrest, Pastor Youcef was sentenced to ten years in prison. Evin prison where he is being kept is remote and has been called a “torture factory”.
Imagine witnessing your father or husband hauled off by a government that is hostile to your Christian faith, worrying about him every single day, and now not being allowed a proper education simply because you are a Christian?
The ACLJ is working diligently to free Pastor Youcef and reunite him with his family. We’ve collected over 140,000 petition signatures, putting further pressure on the United Nations to work towards his release.
This Council must demand the immediate release of Pastor Youcef. The very purpose of this Council is to protect the human rights of individuals living all around the world. It is imperative that this mission be taken seriously and that the Islamic Republic of Iran be reminded of its obligations to actively protect the rights of Pastor Youcef so that he and others can practice their religion peacefully without fear of arrest or violence from their government.
We followed that up with an oral intervention at the U.N. HRC which you can watch here.
Pastor Youcef and his family need your prayers. His children deserve the right to have the education of their choice. Please stand with Pastor Youcef. Take action with us. Share their story.
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