Nadarkhani Update: Iran Human Rights Declaration a 'Mistake,' Says Judiciary Chief

At a recent Human Rights conference, Iran's Judiciary Chief Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani, who played a significant role in the case of Iranian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, has claimed that Iran made a mistake by signing the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

A Feb. 3 American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) report  references British news source BBC, which says Larijani "criticized the Universal Declaration of Human Rights" at the Human Rights Forum and the Position of Iran and Islam conference on Thursday, Feb. 2.

Larijani defended Iran's debatable human rights record at the conference. The Middle Eastern country signed the United Nation's Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, vowing to observe an individual's universal dignity without distinction of any kind, including religion.

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Critics contend that Iran has loosely interpreted the constitution, allowing Islamic Shariah law to rule their judicial system.

Ayatollah Larijani has played a significant role in the case of imprisoned pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, who has remained in Iranian prison for apostasy and attempting to evangelize Muslims since Oct. 2009.

Nadarkhani's case had jumped from the local court of the Gilan province to Iran's Supreme Court. The case was eventually put in the hands of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei for review.

Although Khamenei was supposed to announce Nadarkhani's verdict by the end of 2011, a statement released by Present Truth Ministries in mid-December announced that Iran's court was postponing Nadarkhani's verdict for four months – even possibly up to a year, according to some reports.

It was Ayatollah Larijani who requested that presiding judge Ghazi Kashani delay the case.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the Europe Union, 89 members of Congress, France, Great Britain, Mexico, and Germany's parliament have all condemned Iran's imprisonment of Nadarkhani, arguing that the country is in direct violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Larijani's Feb. 2 comments prove that Iran has not heeded the international community's call to obey the Declaration.

According to the ACLJ, Larijani defended the Iranian court's right to impose Islamic Shariah law in judicial proceedings, ignoring the UDHR.

Nadarkhani remains in Iranian prison as he awaits his verdict. Although he potentially faces execution for apostasy unless he recants his Christian faith, Nadarkhani has repeatedly held true to his belief in Jesus.

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