Youcef Nadarkhani's Imprisonment Condemned by Mexican Senate

Mexico’s Senate approved a statement Wednesday condemning Iran's sentencing of Iranian pastor Youcef Nadarkhani.

Nadarkhani was originally arrested in October 2009 for protesting new policies in the education system that would require his children to read from the Quran. The married father of two was later charged for apostasy and attempting to evangelize Muslims, for which he was found guilty and sentenced to execution.

Iran has received a large amount of criticism from the international community regarding the case, with critics arguing that Iran is in violation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

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Critics contend that this immense international pressure, which includes condemnation by France, Britain, and the U.S. Department of State, has led Iran to pass Nadarkhani’s trial to supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei for review.

Khamenei has ultimate power in judicial affairs, and is expected to make his decision in mid-December.

"As such, the statement proposes that the Senate join the international community, and condemns the death sentence handed down to Youcef Nadarkhani for religious reasons," read the statement approved by Mexico's Senate.

The statement points to both the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the previously mentioned International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

The Christian Solidarity Worldwide organization (CSW)’s Chief Executive Mervyn Thomas recently met with two members of Mexico's Senate to discuss a variety of issues, including Nadarkhani's case.

"CSW welcomes the resolution by the Mexican Senate. The pastor’s life remains in the balance and it is vital that international petitions for his release continue and that international actors continue to urge Iran to uphold its obligations concerning religious freedom under the ICCPR," Thomas said, according in a statement on CSW's website.

Multiple reports indicate that Nadarkhani, a resident of Rasht, Gilan, remains in high spirits while he awaits his final verdict in prison. The 34-year-old pastor leads a network of Christian house churches, and is a member of the Protestant evangelical Church of Iran.

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