Please join us in raising a voice on Pastor Youcef’s behalf.
- Write Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, John Baird. Send him an email today at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also mail him postage-free at:
House of Commons
- Be sure to copy your local MP on the letter to Mr. Baird. You can locate your MP’s contact information here.
- Write or fax the Iranian embassy in Canada:
Chargé d'affaires, a.i.
Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran
245 Metcalfe Street
Ottawa, ON K2P 2K2
Fax: (613) 232-5712
Use the sample letter below to guide you as you write. For further guidelines on how to write government officials, click here.
Thank you for raising a voice!
* * *[Date]
[Government official’s address]
Dear Mr./Mrs./Ms. [MP’s surname] OR His Excellency Kambiz Sheikh Hassani,
I am writing today to express my concern for Iranian pastor Youcef Nadarkhani. Nadarkhani, a 34-year-old pastor from Rasht, Iran, was arrested in October 2009 after he protested a government policy that required children, including his eight- and nine-year-old sons, to study the Qur’an in school. Nadarkhani told school officials that the Iranian constitution allows for freedom of religious practice.
As a result of his protest, secret police called him before a political tribunal and arrested him for protesting. The charges were later amended to apostasy and evangelism of Muslims. Nadarkhani was tried on September 21 and 22, 2010, and sentenced to death for apostasy on November 13.
In July 2011, the Supreme Court instructed the Revolutionary Tribunal of Gilan Province to review his case to verify whether he was previously a practicing Muslim. During hearings on September 25-28, the court in Rasht ruled that Pastor Nadarkhani was not a practicing Muslim before becoming a Christian but that he remains guilty of apostasy because of his Muslim ancestry. Pastor Nadarkhani now awaits a written verdict of the death sentence, which can be issued at any time.
Pastor Nadarkhani faces the death penalty solely on the basis of his adopting Christianity. As such, the Islamic Republic of Iran is violating its obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Article 18 includes a provision for the right to “have or to adopt” a religion, which has been interpreted authoritatively by the UN Human Rights Committee as including the right to change one’s religion.
Further, Iran’s constitution sanctions Christianity as a legitimate minority faith and asserts that Christians are allowed to freely carry out their religious rites. Article 23 asserts that no one may be “reprimanded simply because of having a certain belief.”
I am very concerned about Pastor Nadarkhani’s welfare and I respectfully request that you give your attention to this urgent matter. Thank you for your time.
[Your name and address]