An Iranian envoy has denied an execution order was issued for Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, but revealed a list of charges against the evangelical Christian that allegedly make him guilty of "offending Islam."
The envoy's denial was prompted by human rights investigator Ahmed Shaheed, who on Monday openly condemned Iran's imprisonment of Nadarkhani in a 36-page report, presented to several U.N. representatives at the Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland.
According to Tiffany Barrans of the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), who was present at Monday's council, Shaheed encouraged the Iranian authorities to "reassess the cases of all those listed in [his] report and to reconsider the aforementioned cases presented here today." He specifically mentioned Nadarkhani, saying "Pastor Yousef [sic] Nadarkhani who has been sentenced to death for apostasy..." more >>
The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) has been at the forefront of Iranian pastor Youcef Nadarkhani's court case, and the group's many endeavors, namely its "Tweet for Youcef" campaign and congressional petition, have seen substantial results.
Those who sign up for the "Tweet for Youcef" campaign allow the ACLJ to use their Twitter accounts to post a daily Nadarkhani update, which includes the number of days Nadarkhani has been imprisoned, facts about his court case, and a link back to the ACLJ's Nadarkhani information page.
Since the campaign began in mid-February, it has gained a substantial following, now reaching 1.1 million Twitter users per day in 89 percent of the world's nations. more >>
The American Center for Law and Justice's sources in Iran confirmed Saturday that Iranian pastor Youcef Nadarkhani is in fact alive, and rumors that he was to be executed over the weekend were false.
Photos surfaced on the Internet Saturday, allegedly showing a blindfolded Nadarkhani facing execution by hanging. These photos are outdated and false, the ACLJ reported Saturday.
Although Nadarkhani is still alive, the ACLJ does still believe that Iranian courts have issued an execution order. In the past, Iran has not informed the public of an execution, oftentimes dropping the prisoner's executed body on the family's doorstep. more >>
The past few weeks have shown a great, unified increase in support for Iranian pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, who has been imprisoned in Iran since Oct. 2009 for his Christian faith. Pressure from the global community has been credited with preventing Iran from carrying out his death sentence, but is it up to the United States to do more?
According to Lindsay Vessey, advocacy director for religious persecution watchdog Open Doors USA, all international persecution cases should receive as much attention as Nadarkhani's has. The United States has shown great resolve in helping Nadarkhani's plight, and Vessey believes that the U.S. should be the world's guiding light in defending religious liberties.
This is one of the reasons why Open Doors USA has created the Presidential Pledge for Religious Freedom, written several months ago in preparation for the upcoming 2012 presidential elections. more >>
The U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution Thursday condemning Iran for imprisoning Christian pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, while calling for his immediate release.
The resolution passed with a 417-1 vote. Rep. Lois Capps (D-Calif.) was the only representative to vote against the resolution, although she later confirmed that she had accidentally voted "no." Capps' press secretary, Ashley Schapitl, informed The Christian Post of the mistake and provided a YouTube video which documents Capps' address to the House of Representatives, during which she acknowledges her mistake and requests that her approval of H. Res. 556 be recorded. The voting record, however, cannot be changed. more >>
The American Center for Law and Justice's sources in Iran confirmed Sunday that Youcef Nadarkhani is still alive, although it is still believed that Iranian courts have issued an execution warrant for the Christian pastor.
Middle East experts and international affairs organizations agree that Nadarkhani's case has caused the global community to transcend politics in unified support for the Iranian evangelical, and proves that there is concern for religious freedom around the world.
"We still believe that his execution has been ordered, but it is clear that renewed international pressure on Iran for Pastor Youcef's release is having an impact," Jordan Sekulow, executive director of the ACLJ, wrote on the organization's website. more >>