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Pastor Nadarkhani update: State Department, Boehner weigh in

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By Michelle Malkin  •  September 30, 2011 10:46 AM

Yesterday, I asked the State Department several times if it would be making a statement about the impending execution in Iran of Christian pastor Yousef Nadarkhani.

Late last night, they finally did — first via Twitter and then directly from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Keep spreading the word, putting pressure on your representatives to speak out, and letting your friends, workers, and faith leaders know.

Every public condemnation counts:

Press Statement
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
September 30, 2011

The United States is deeply concerned by reports of the Iranian government’s continued repression of its people. Despite statements from Iran’s Supreme Leader and President claiming support for the rights and freedoms of Iranian citizens and people in the region, the government continues its crackdown on all forms of dissent, belief, and assembly.

We are particularly concerned by reports that Christian pastor Youcef Nadarkhani is facing execution on charges of apostasy for refusing to recant his faith. This comes amid a harsh onslaught against followers of diverse faiths, including Zoroastrians, Sufis, and Baha’is.

Iran’s government continues to arrest journalists and filmmakers. They are restricting access to information by jamming incoming satellite broadcasts and filtering the Internet.

The United States stands with the international community and all Iranians against the Iranian government’s hypocritical statements and actions, and we continue to call for a government that respects the human rights and freedom of all those living in Iran.

GOP House Speaker John Boehner has added his voice:

Iran is drawing widespread criticism over reports that an Iranian pastor faces execution for refusing to recant his Christian faith and return to Islam. “Religious freedom is a universal human right,” Boehner said. He said that the prospects that Nadarkhani could be executed “unless he disavows his Christian faith are distressing for people of every country and creed.

“While Iran’s government claims to promote tolerance, it continues to imprison many of its people because of their faith. This goes beyond the law to an issue of fundamental respect for human dignity,” said Boehner.

The stalwart ACLJ continues to lead the defense of Pastor Nadarkhani and reports that the death sentence still stands. The pastor’s attorney based in Iran says to please keep up the pressure:

Today, ACLJ attorneys confirmed with Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani’s attorney in Iran, Mohammad Ali Dadkhah, that the death sentence still stands. Mr. Dadkhah stated that at the end of yesterday’s hearing, three of the five judges appeared to be leaning toward annulling Pastor Youcef’s sentence. Recognizing, however, that the judges’ decision is not final and may be swayed by outside pressure before delivering the final verdict, he urges the international community to continue to cry out for Pastor Youcef’s unconditional release until he walks free from the jailhouse.

More from ACLJ’s Jordan Sekulow here.

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