FEB. 24, 2012 (Kensington, MD) – The Obama administration has issued a tepid statement on the death sentence confirmed by an Iranian court on Wednesday against an Iranian pastor, Yousef Nadarkhani, who has been imprisoned for 855 days for no other reason than his faith.
“I am appalled by the lack of leadership from the White House, the Secretary of State, and the administration’s Ambassador for International Religious Freedom on this urgent human rights and religious freedom case,” Timmerman said. “The Iranian regime is threatening to hang Pastor Yousef because he is a Christian, and all we get from this administration is a tepid, generalized condemnation of “government persecution” in Iran. They should be leading the international effort to secure Pastor Yousef’s freedom, not passive spectators and occasional commentators.”
Ambassador Susan Johnson Cook mentioned the arrest of Pastor Yousef in a speech last November after the American Center for Law and Justice delivered a petition with nearly 200,000 signatures asking for stronger action from her office and from the Department of State. A search of the State Department website yields just 8 mentions of Pastor Yousef (also spelled Youcef), all of them this year. A similar search for the term “gay rights” yields 239 hits.
“Apparently, this administration feels that promoting gay rights around the world is an appropriate use of taxpayer dollars, but it is scarcely willing to lift a finger to defend a man sentenced to death by a barbarous regime solely because of his faith,” Timmerman said.
Pastor Yousef converted to Christianity as a young man and has refused repeated demands by Iranian judges to recant his faith. More information on his case can be found at a special website set up by the ACLJ, and at Persecution.org.
“I also note that Rep. Chris Van Hollen has refrained from signing Congressional letters calling for the release of Pastor Youcef. If I am elected to Congress, I will be a strong advocate for persecuted minorities and of international religious freedom,” Timmerman added.
Ken Timmerman is challenging incumbent Rep. Chris Van Hollen in the 8th District of Maryland. Timmerman has won the support of such recognized national security figures as former UN Ambassador John Bolton, former CIA Director R. James Woolsey, and former Navy Secretary and 9/11 Commission member, John Lehman, as well as many state and local elected officials.
For comment, call Katja Bullock: 301-933-2203 or contact Ken Timmerman by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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