(New York, NY) John W. Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute, has called on the Iranian ambassador to the United Nations to intervene in the impending execution of Youcef Nadarkhani, a Christian pastor in Iran who was convicted of apostasy. In a letter to the Iranian ambassador and other key dignitaries, Whitehead urged the Iranian ambassador to encourage his government to abide by its obligations under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and its own Constitution, which provides that “no one may be molested or taken to task simply for holding a certain belief.”
The Rutherford Institute’s letter on behalf of Youcef Nadarkhani is available at www.rutherford.org.
“If citizens in Iran cannot depend upon the protections of the most basic human rights provided in their own Constitution, then we must offer them the solace of a watching world that is willing to intervene politically,” stated John W. Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute. “Surely we cannot stand silent as this man of faith is martyred. Youcef’s imminent execution presents Iran with the unique opportunity to prove its commitment to human rights and being a part of the international community by dropping the charges against Youcef and letting him go free.”
According to reports by the Assyrian International News Agency, Christian pastor Youcef Nadarkhani was convicted of apostasy after protesting the government’s decision to teach Christian schoolchildren—including Youcef’s own 8- and 6-year-old sons—about Islam. Over the course of the past two years Youcef has spent in prison, he has allegedly suffered various forms of inhumane and irregular punishment, including a denial of access to his attorney, the arrest of his wife, threats to place his two sons in the custody of Muslim families, and the administration of drugs in an attempt to force him to recant his religious faith. On Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2011, Youcef refused to deny his faith a fourth time. Most recently, Youcef has been charged with rape and extortion, trumped-up charges which never surfaced during his series of trials in 2010.