Reports from various human rights organizations Tuesday indicate that Mohammad Ali Dadkhah, the human rights lawyer responsible for defending Iranian pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, has started serving a nine-year prison sentence for allegedly acting against national security and spreading propaganda.
The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), which closely followed Pastor Nadarkhani’s court case and is likewise following Dadkhah’s case, says that because Dadkhah represents his clients free of charge, he is being accused of “aiding and abetting” in the alleged crimes of his clients.
“In a world where persecution on the basis of faith is escalating, we must also stand with those who defend our fundamental freedoms,” Tiffany Barrans, International Legal Director for the ACLJ, told The Christian Post in an emailed statement. “As the world awakened to the realities of religious persecution in Iran when the masses fought for Pastor Youcef’s freedom, we must now shift our attention to defend those who defend the persecuted.”
“Mr. Dadkhah’s recent imprisonment represents how the Iranian regime is frightened by those who stand for justice,” she concluded.
A spokesman for Navi Pillay, the United Nations high commissioner for human rights, spoke out Tuesday in Geneva against Dadkhah’s imprisonment, saying that his jail sentence signifies a “severe clampdown” on journalists and human rights advocates in Iran.
In his statement, spokesman Rupert Colville confirmed that Dadkhah, according to Iranian officials, was arrested for “membership in an association seeking to overthrow the government and propaganda against the system.”