Monday, May 21, 2012

Nadarkhani and Dadkhah Persecuted in Iran

John R. Houk
© May 21, 2012

To the natural eyes Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani of Iran is beginning to sink deeper and deeper into the mire of darkness which the justice system of theocratic Shia-Islamic Iran. The Iran regime has arrested Nadarkhani’s lawyer Mohammad Ali Dadkhah on trumped up charges. And of course Pastor Youcef has had a death sentence hanging over his head for years for the very Islamic crime of converting to Christianity. The conversion meme of Iranian justice has been denied by Pastor Youcef claiming he has been a Christian since childhood. But it gets worse for Pastor Youcef.

Now the Iranian regime is financing movie Director Nader Talebzadh to make a documentary about Pastor Youcef. If Iran is financing the film project you have to know it will be a propaganda campaign to get any doubting Iranian citizens on board with Pastor Youcef’s execution which I understand can be ordered by whim without notification by the Iranian government.

Below is the scoop from two articles from the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ).

JRH 5/21/12
Iran Demands Youcef’s Lawyer “Confess on TV”

Mohammad Ali Dadkhah

May 14, 2012 3:40 PM

Iran continues to pressure Christian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani’s attorney, Mohammad Ali Dadkhah, to confess to crimes he did not commit.

A new report indicates that Dadkhah, who has been disbarred and sentenced to 9 years in prison for representing people like pastor Youcef, has been extensively interrogated and pressured to “confess on TV or go to prison.”

“Tomorrow is my last day to either make television confessions or go to prison. I will go to prison, and I will not [be forced to] leave my homeland.” . . .

“They told me that if I didn’t confess, they would enforce my sentence. They talked to me for long periods of time and I did not accept it. I will say now that if one day I say things, they are not credible and I must have been under conditions where I was forced to say those things. I hope God maintains my power.”

“Under intense pressure, they asked me to say before television cameras that the Defenders of Human Rights Center (DHRC) received funds from foreigners, meaning that we were operators for foreigners, which is not true.” . . .

“We were a number of lawyers who for our love for our land, our capabilities, and our professional knowledge started the Center and we worked there. Among Iranian lawyers, perhaps a group like ours is rare, a group that has knowledge, capability, and awareness about their work and is so affectionate towards our homeland.”

Dadkhah, a world-renowned Muslim human rights attorney in Iran, founded the DHRC along with Nobel laureate Shirin Ebadi and others to defend human rights in Iran.

Dadkhah reportedly stated that he has been ordered to “to go talk on television and say that he received money from abroad,” which is a criminal offence in Iran. Dadkhah maintains that he has never accepted foreign money or awards “accompanied with money.” He also stated, “I never received any money from my clients whom I defended for their human rights and I consider this my honor.”

The report also states that Dadkhah said, “Those who have violated my human rights should answer” for what happens to his clients, like Pastor Youcef, if his prison sentence is enforced.

It was just last week that Pastor Youcef released his first public statement since his execution order was upheld in a letter written to his supporters.

We are continuing to monitor this situation and urge Iran to both release Pastor Youcef and allow Dadkhah continue defending the human rights of those persecuted in Iran.
Pastor Youcef the Movie: Fact or Fiction

Youcef Nadarkhani

May 16, 2012 2:55 PM

As international pressure increases, the Iranian regime is now taking new measures to delegitimize Christian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani. Iranian film director Nader Talebzadh is making a "documentary" about Pastor Youcef. One would hope that such a documentary would expose the truth about the persecution of Pastor Youcef.

However, Mr. Talebzadh has said he will work directly with the Iranian judiciary in producing the film. In announcing that he is in the beginning stages of the documentary, Mr. Talebzadh proclaimed that Pastor Youcef is a criminal and that his death sentence for apostasy is a lie propagated by western media. Clearly, Mr. Talebzadh has not reviewed the court’s verdict, which can be found here (and has been translated into English, Portuguese, and Russian), because it clearly stated that Pastor Youcef's death sentence is solely for the charge of apostasy.

Producing a film with any legitimacy will be difficult for Mr. Talebzadh. To begin with, the Iranian regime has made so many inconsistent public statements about Pastor Youcef, it will be impossible to tell his story without contradicting the Iranian regime’s various accounts.

So which false story line will Mr. Talebzadh pursue? Will it be that Pastor Youcef is a rapist, which would require Mr. Talebzadh produce two witnesses; or that he is an extortionist; or perhaps the false accusation that he ran a brothel? Of course there is always the standard Iranian fallback that Pastor Youcef is a Zionist or national security threat, both of which might include scintillating action scenes for the viewers.
Mr. Talebzadh also proclaimed that Pastor Youcef is not a Christian pastor; but of course, if this is true, then the regime lied before the United Nations Human Rights Council last March when the Head of Iran’s Human Rights Council, Mohammad Javad Larijani, stated three new charges against against Pastor Youcef. Each of the new charges concerned his preaching Christianity or building a church in his home.
One thing is for certain, Mr. Talebzadh, a man “known to make the films the Regime orders him to make,” will use his documentary as a smear campaign for the regime. In light of these new attempts to disgrace Pastor Youcef’s reputation, we must remain vigilant in our pursuit of his freedom. Please do your part: continue to pray, join our Tweet for Youcef campaign, and spread the word to your friends and family.
Copyright © 2012, ACLJ

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