Iranian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, held in prison under the death penalty, was released this weekend and returned to his family. In February, Congressman Joe Pitts (PA-16) introduced House Resolution 556, calling on the Iranian government to immediately release Pastor Youcef. This resolution was overwhelmingly passed by the House on March 1.
Congressman Pitts' statement follows:
"After years of false imprisonment, I am pleased that Iranian authorities have relented and released Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani. Pastor Youcef had been sentenced to death for standing up for the religious rights of his family.
"It has been a long ordeal. In prison, he was subject to intense interrogation and asked to confess to crimes he did not commit. At times, Pastor Youcef's wife and lawyer were arrested and harassed by authorities. The eyes of the world were on the Iranian government to see whether they would put an innocent man to death. While Pastor Youcef is now home, religious minorities--Jews, Sunni Muslims, Baha'is and others--living in Iran continue to face persecution from the government. We must keep speaking out on their behalf."