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Public Statements

Release of Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. PITTS. Mr. Speaker, Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani has been released from prison in Iran. After 3 years of suffering in prison, with the death penalty hanging over his head on false charges, Pastor Youcef is now home with his family. This weekend he was suddenly brought before a court, convicted on a more minor sentence, and granted time served.

While we applaud his release, we cannot forget how Pastor Youcef was abused and falsely accused over the past 3 years. He was subject to intense interrogation. His wife was arrested, taken away from their two young sons for a period of time. His lawyer was arrested on trumped-up charges.

Earlier this year the House drew attention to this persecution when it overwhelmingly passed a resolution calling for the immediate release of Pastor Youcef. We made it clear that the world was watching and would not tolerate the execution of an innocent man.

The Government of Iran continues to abuse religious minorities within its borders: Jews, Sunni Muslims, Baha'is, as well as Christians. Pastor Youcef's release is a victory for human rights, but we cannot forget about the other victims of this corrupt regime.

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