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Published On: Tue, Jan 8th, 2013

Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani released from Iranian jail

Youcef Nadarkhani, the Iranian Christian pastor who had been re-arrested on Christmas Day after serving nearly three years in prison for renouncing Islam, was released Monday, according his family and close contacts.

Youcef Nadarkhani

Youcef Nadarkhani

Nadarkhani was imprisoned from 2010 through November 2012 and returned on Christmas to “finish his sentence.” The leader of Iran’s Evangelical community was aquitted of apostasy and freed, but a judge reviewed the case ruling he was released too soon.

Congressmen Joe Pitts (R-Pa.), and Keith Ellison, (D-Minn.), released a joint letter last week blasting the regime for the arrest of the pastor.

“We were heartbroken to learn that the government of Iran has thrown Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani back in jail,” read the letter, released on Friday. “Given its persecution of Pastor Youcef because of his Christian faith, it was particularly cruel to imprison him on Christmas Day.”

Nadarkhani’s trouble with the regime in Tehran began in 2006, when he applied for his church to be registered with the state. According to sources, he was arrested at that time and then soon released. In 2009,¬†Nadarkhani went to local officials to complain about Islamic indoctrination in his school district, arguing that his children should not be forced to learn about Islam.

He was subsequently arrested.

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