Thirty-five years ago, on the 23rd of the Farvardin month of the Persian Calendar, Youcef was born in Iran.This is the third birthday that Pastor Youcef has been forced to celebrate behind bars, condemned to death in Iran for apostasy – becoming a Christian in a regime governed by Shariah (Islamic) law.
Both the Iranian Constitution and the International Declaration of Human Rights, of which Iran is a signatory, not only forbid executing someone for their faith but expressly protect religious freedom. Despite these assurances of religious freedom, Iran continues to imprison Pastor Youcef indefinitely for charges related solely to the exercise of his faith.
Today, Christians and supporters of Pastor Youcef all around the world are holding a fasting and prayer vigil for the persecuted pastor to bring attention to his plight. Just last week, hundreds of Christians and supporters of religious liberty attended a vigil andm for Pastor Youcef’s release in Hamburg, Germany.
These are just a few examples of the increasing international pressure being placed on Iran to release Pastor Youcef. Nations like the United Kingdom, Brazil, and many others are directly demanding that Iran immediately and unconditionally release Pastor Youcef.
The ACLJ’s Tweet for Youcef campaign is now reaching nearly 1.5 million Twitter accounts around the world each day with updates about Pastor Youcef. His story has reached over 91 percent of the United Nations member states, including Iran. The Tweet for Youcef Brazil campaign in Portuguese also continues to see tremendous growth.
Even with this increasing international pressure on Iran for Pastor Youcef’s release, it is critically important to remember that Pastor Youcef is still in an Iranian prison under a death sentence that could be carried out at any time. The only reason that he is still alive today is because of the international outcry against this abhorrent situation. It is not enough that Iran remove his death sentence, rather we must demand his ultimate and unconditional freedom.
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