A Twitter-based campaign launched by the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) to free an imprisoned Iranian pastor is now reaching over 2.7 million people in over 230 countries.
The ACLJ’s “Tweet for Youcef” campaign, which launched in January, is pressing for the release of Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, who marked 1,000 days in prison on July 8. The ACLJ argues that Nadarkhani has been illegally imprisoned and says increased international pressure for the pastor’s immediate and unconditional release is more important now than ever.
“He is still alive today because of international pressure on Iran – people worldwide raising their voices, demanding that his life be spared,” the group tells campaign supporters. “We need to keep that pressure on.”
Last year, Dr. Frank Wright, President and CEO of the National Religious Broadcasters (NRB), sent letters to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and to Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom Suzan Johnson Cook, respectfully requesting that they use their positions in the Obama Administration to intervene on Nadarkhani’s behalf.
“NRB is an ardent advocate of religious liberty for all people domestically and abroad,” said Dr. Wright at the time. “Many of our members have followed with great concern the situation of Pastor Nadarkhani, who was arrested almost two years ago. We find it unconscionable that the Iranian government would sentence him to death because he refuses to recant his faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.”
According to reports, Nadarkhani was arrested on Oct. 13, 2009, after protesting the government's decision to force all children, including his two sons, to read the Qu'ran. The pastor was initially arrested for protesting but was later charged with apostasy and evangelism to Muslims.
Since then, Nadarkhani has been repeatedly asked to renounce his Christian faith, but the pastor continues to hold true to his belief in Jesus Christ.
His next scheduled court date is Sept. 8.
Published: July 18, 2012