Washington--Today, Congressman Keith Ellison (D-MN) and Congressman Joe Pitts (R-PA) called on the government of Iran to immediately release Christian pastor Youcef Nadarkhani. After being released in October, Pastor Youcef was taken back into custody on Christmas Day.
The joint statement from Pitts and Ellison follows:
"We were heartbroken to learn that the government of Iran has thrown Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani back in jail. Given its persecution of Pastor Youcef because of his Christian faith, it was particularly cruel to imprison him on Christmas Day.
"During his previous imprisonment, Pastor Youcef was mistreated and pressured to renounce his faith and confess to crimes he did not commit. We want Iranian authorities to know that the world is watching his case.
"The continued imprisonment of Pastor Youcef for simply practicing his faith is a gross violation of human rights. He should be released to his wife and two young sons immediately."