Merry Christmas to the Iranian Christians among worries for the imprisoned priest in Iran

A Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to Iranian Christians

International Coalition Against Violence in Iran (ICAVI), with regards to all other religions, wishes a Merry Christmas for all Iranian Christians.Throughout the world at this time of the year, Christian families celebrate the birth of Christ with usual festivities. All at the same time, Josef Nadarkhani, a Christian priest is sending Christmas in prison away from his two young children and his wife and his family are deprived to celebrate Christmas together.Josef Nadarkhani was detained on 10 October 2009 and has since been kept in Lakan prison in the city of Rasht in the north of Iran.

Josef Nadarkhani, 35, one of the clergies in the north of the country has recently been sentenced to death by court for conversion to Christianity. Pressures on this clergy and other new converts are due to the act of conversion from Islam to Christianity.

According to Article 18 of the United Nations Human Rights Charter “Everyone has the right to freedom of conscience, religion and thought. A right that guarantees freedom of conversion to other religions and freedom of expression, religious rituals and teachings. Everyone should enjoy such rights individually or collectively.” In Iran, such rights are not respected by the state. New converts are banned from attending or performing religious rituals even in private. They are often detained and put to prison such as the cases in the cities of Ahwaz, Hamadan, Mashad, Tabriz and so on.

International Coalition Against violence in Iran (ICAVI) as indicated in its Charter is against the death penalty, torture and imprisonment of people for their political or religious beliefs and calls on the Iranian government to free Josef Nadarkhani and other converts to other religions or beliefs.      

  Once again, ICAVI wishes a Merry Christmas for all Iranian Christians and the freedom of all political and ideological prisoners and a prosperous country free of violence and discrimination. International Coalition Against Violence in Iran (ICAVI)December 2010 

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