Iran: Lawyer who defended a Pastor on death row has been imprisoned too, together with his former client
by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent
(Worthy News) – An attorney in Iran who helped save an Iranian pastor accused of ‘apostasy’ from the death penalty has now been imprisoned himself, together with his former client, who has again been jailed, Article 18 reports.
Lawyer Mohammad Ali Dadkhah had defended Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani in a death penalty case in which the church leader was accused of “criminal” apostasy in 2010, Article 18 said. While apostasy has not been codified as a crime under Iranian penal law, under Islamic Sharia law, the offense carries the death sentence.
Dadkhah was able to secure an acquittal for Pastor Yousef in 2012, but himself was separately sentenced to nine years in prison and a 10-year ban on practicing law or teaching at universities – for “propaganda against the regime,” Article 18 reports. The Iranian regime has a long record of targeting lawyers who take on “security” cases – cases that often involve Christians.
Although Dadkhah was released on parole after one year, his case has suddenly been reopened, and he has been imprisoned again, Article 18 reports. Moreover, the lawyer has been transferred to Evin prison in Tehran, where Pastor Yousef is himself serving a new prison sentence for “organizing and propagating house-churches” and “promoting Zionist Christianity,” Article 18 said.
In a website statement about the persecution of Christians in Iran, Open Doors USA explained: “The government sees the growth of the church in Iran as an attempt by Western countries to undermine Islam and the Islamic regime of Iran. House groups made up of converts from Muslim backgrounds are often raided, and both their leaders and members have been arrested, prosecuted and given long prison sentences for “crimes against national security.”
Iran ranks 9th on the US Open Doors World Watch List 2022 of the top 50 countries where Christians are persecuted.
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