Mr. PITTS. Mr. Speaker, this evening the House will consider H. Res. 556, condemning Iran for their persecution, imprisonment, and sentencing to death of Christian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani. Pastor Youcef has been in prison for 2 1/2 years now under the charges of apostasy and condemned to death by hanging. His wife, too, was arrested and condemned to life in prison, but later released.
Christians and other religious minorities are under assault in Iran today. Hundreds have been imprisoned and many have been executed on trumped-up charges. In fact, while the official charges against Pastor Youcef are apostasy and evangelism, the state media said that he has been charged with rape and extortion.
The authorities in Iran know that they are violating both their own constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in their treatment of Pastor Youcef and other minorities.
This week, the House will call on Iran to respect these agreements and to release Pastor Youcef so that he, his wife, and children may practice their religion freely and not according to the dictates of the state.