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Iran releases pastor arrested on Christmas
By BENJAMIN WEINTHAL, JPOST CORRESPONDENT
01/09/2013
Youcef Nadarkhani jailed twice for his Christian beliefs.
 
BERLIN – The Iranian authorities released Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani on Monday after a second period of incarceration due to his Christian beliefs.

Jordan Sekulow, the executive director of the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), wrote in a post on his organization’s website that “a leader in Pastor Youcef’s church has confirmed to the ACLJ that Iranian authorities released Pastor Youcef from prison shortly after 1:30 p.m. near Rasht, Iran.”

The authorities rearrested Nadarkhani on Christmas.

He was previously imprisoned for nearly three years for creating a church and questioning the compulsory Islamic education of his two children, but was released. His case has attracted international scrutiny of Iran’s severe crackdown on Christianity and other non-Islamic religions in the Muslim-majority country.

Nadarkhani spent 14 days in prison following his arrest in December.

“The ACLJ welcomes his release from this unjust and illegal imprisonment. Iran must not be allowed to persecute individuals because of their faith. Pastor Youcef has become the face of persecution around the world, and his rearrest on Christmas Day shows Iran’s intent to make an example of Pastor Youcef to intimidate people of minority faiths,” Sekulow wrote.

“While Pastor Youcef is now once again free, American Pastor Saeed Abedini remains imprisoned for his faith in one of Iran’s most notoriously brutal and abusive prisons. We must continue to demand that Iran stop abusing and persecuting Christians and those willing to defend human rights.”
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