A United Nations special representative has publicly called on the Iranian government to release Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, who is facing the death sentence for refusing to recant his faith in Christ.
Nadarkhani faces possible execution for his conversion to Christianity, according the American Center for Law and Justice.
U.N. Special Rapporteur Ahmed Shaheed expressed his concern over Iran's repeated violations of human rights in a speech Thursday to the General Assembly's Social, Humanitarian Cultural Affairs committee, also known as the Third Committee.
"The special rapporteur was particularly disturbed by a recent ruling of the Supreme Court that upheld a death sentence for Yousef Nadarkhani, a Protestant pastor who was reportedly born to Muslim parents but converted to Christianity when he was 19 years old," Shaheed said.
Shaheed also told the committee about the Iranian judiciary's attempts to silence lawyers who would help their clients.
He mentioned that Nadarkhani's attorney, Mohammad Ali Dadkhah, has been sentenced to nine years in prison.
Most lawyers in Iran are charged with acting against national security, insulting the Supreme Leader, and spreading propaganda against the regime, according to Shaheed.
The ACLJ continues to work to have Nadarkhani released. The group said the growing international pressure has helped keep the pastor alive.
ACLJ Executive Director Jordan Sekulow said difficulties have come up for the Iranian prosecution in the case because the 34-year-old pastor didn't fit the definition of an apostate according to Iranian law.
So far, nearly 200,000 Americans have signed the ACLJ's petition to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to pressure Iran for Pastor Nadarkhani's release.
Join CBN News on Twitter to spread the word about Pastor Youcef's case.
- Follow us @CBNNews, then retweet our post, "Who is Youcef Nadarkhani? A pastor, husband & father who may be killed in Iran for his faith. RT for religious freedom, http//bit.ly/cbnnews."
Sign the online petition to save Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani here.
Christian Solidarity Worldwide is calling for urgent action:
- Voice your concerns now to the Iranian Embassy here.
- You can also call the Iranian liaison office in the U.S. State Department. The number is 202-647-6575.
--Published Oct. 21, 2011.