Posts Tagged ‘Christian’

‘Do me a solid’ and free American prisoner: Dennis Rodman’s plea to Kim Jong  Un to release tour operator sentenced to 15 years hard labor


Former NBA star Dennis Rodman is tapping his  friendship with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to ask for the release of a  Korean-American man sentenced to 15 years of hard labor in the  North.

‘I’m calling on the Supreme Leader of North  Korea or as I call him “Kim,” to do me a solid and cut Kenneth Bae loose,’  Rodman said on Twitter on Tuesday.

He said the tweet was posted as a direct  response to a Seattle Times editorial that dared him to ask Kim for the release,  if the two are really buddies.

BudsBuds: Dennis Rodman, left, has called on North Korea’s  leader Kim Jong Un, right, to release American prisoner Kenneth Bae (Mr Rodman  with Kim Jong Un in February during his visit to North Korea)


Dennis RodmanSway: Dennis Rodman, left hugging the North Korean  leader in February, referred to the dictator as ‘Kim’ in his Twitter message  asking him to release the American being held captive

Rodman visited North Korea in February and  sat next to Kim as they watched an exhibition basketball game. His trip came at  a time of high tension between Pyongyang and Washington and was not endorsed by  the U.S. State Department.

Kenneth BaeKenneth Bae, a U.S. citizen, is a tour operator who was  arrested in North Korea in November

Bae is a tour operator who was arrested in  North Korea in November.

The North’s Supreme Court sentenced him last  week for unspecified ‘hostile acts’ against the state.

In a Foreign Ministry statement on Sunday,  North Korea said the 44-year-old Washington state man entered the country with a  disguised identity.

Bae is at least the sixth American detained  in North Korea since 2009.

The others eventually were deported or  released, some after trips to Pyongyang by prominent Americans, including former  U.S. presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter.

North Korea’s Foreign Ministry rejected  speculation that it was seeking a U.S. envoy to negotiate Bae’s release, saying  he is not a political bargaining chip.

Analysts have said North Korea may be using  Bae as bait to open direct negotiations with the United States over its nuclear  arms programs.

Bae’s sentencing came during a lull after  weeks of threats of war from Pyongyang against the U.S. and South  Korea.

 The U.S. has called for the North to  immediately release Bae.

It relies on Swedish diplomats in Pyongyang  to deal with Bae’s case because the North and the U.S. have no formal diplomatic  relations after the 1950-53 Korean War ended in a truce instead of a peace  treaty.

Social MediaSocial Media: The former NBA star took to Twitter to  send an informal plea to the North Korean leader

In an op-ed piece for the Seattle paper,  dated May 3 by Thanh Tan, the author suggested Rodman try his hand at diplomacy,  given he seemed cozy with the dictator during his recent trip to the country.

‘Dennis Rodman claims to be lifelong buddies  with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. Really?’ she wrote.

‘Well, perhaps now is the time for the NBA  has-been to practice some real basketball diplomacy and call up his so-called  friend for a favor: Grant American detainee Kenneth Bae amnesty and release him  to his family.’

North Korea has not described the exact  nature of Bae’s alleged crimes. Friends say Bae is a devout Christian and tour  operator based in China who traveled frequently to North Korea to feed  orphans.

Rodman said after his trip to North Korea  that he planned to return in August to vacation with Kim, a diehard basketball  fan.

By Daily Mail Reporter

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2321335/Dennis-Rodmans-plea-Kim-Jong-Un-release-tour-operator-sentenced-15-years-hard-labor.html#ixzz2SibnnSWM Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook


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Iran: Pastor Irani develops blood infection as health deteriorates sharply.

This article is from Christian Solidarity Worldwide….please help…….


Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) has learned that Pastor Benham Irani, currently held in Ghezal Hesar prison in Iran, has developed a blood infection as a result of an ongoing intestinal complication. As his health continues to deteriorate sharply, he is reportedly barely able to speak.

Sources close to CSW report that Pastor Irani may be sent to a hospital for surgery to remove the part of his intestine which is the source of the infection. However, his family has not been informed about possible surgery or whether or not he has been sent to hospital.

Benham Irani pastors the Church of Iran congregation in Karaj. He was arrested in December 2006, and sentenced to six years imprisonment on charges of “action against the state” and “action against the order.” The verdict against him includes text that describes Pastor Irani as an apostate and reiterates that apostates “can be killed”. Furthermore, prison authorities and fellow prisoners have informed him on various occasions that he will not leave the prison “alive”.

Pastor Irani has so far been denied hospital treatment for severe bleeding due to stomach ulcers and complications with his colon, which caused him to lose consciousness at one point. Without adequate medical care, his condition has continued to worsen, prompting concerns that he may have only weeks or months to live.

During the first few months of his imprisonment in Ghezel Hesar Prison, the pastor was held incommunicado in a small cell, where guards would repeatedly wake him from sleep as a form of psychological torture. He was moved into a cramped room where inmates could not lie down to sleep, before being transferred to his current cell, where he sustained regular beatings from his cell mates and prison authorities. As a result of injuries sustained during these assaults, he has difficulty walking. The pastor also has trouble with his vision and has received death threats from fellow prisoners.

CSW’s Advocacy Director Andrew Johnston said, “CSW is deeply concerned for Pastor Irani’s welfare. We continue to urge the Iranian authorities to allow Pastor Irani access to appropriate medical treatment. Reports of his possible hospital admission, if true, are welcome and long overdue, as the delay in his treatment has undoubtedly caused his health to deteriorate sharply. It is also vital that Pastor Irani is protected from fellow prisoners who have threatened his life. CSW continues to call on the Iranian government to honour its obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and facilitate the unconditional release of Pastor Irani, Pastor Nadarkhani, Pastor Farshid Fathi Malayeri and all others currently detained or facing execution on account of their faith following flawed judicial processes.”

For further information or to arrange interviews please contact Kiri Kankhwende, Press Officer at Christian Solidarity Worldwide on +44 (0)20 8329 0045 / +44 (0) 78 2332 9663, email kiri@csw.org.uk or visit http://www.csw.org.uk.

Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) is a Christian organisation working for religious freedom through advocacy and human rights, in the pursuit of justice.

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Prisoner Profile


Asia Bibi
June 2009
July 17, 2012

Asia Bibi, a 37-year-old Pakistani woman from the village of Ittanwali, was arrested by police on Friday, June 19, 2009. Asia (also called Asia Noreen) is the wife of 50-year-old Ashiq Masih, and their family is one of only three Christian families in a village of 1,500 families.
Many of the local women, including Asia, work on the farm of Muslim landowner Muhammad Idrees. During their work, many of the Muslim women have pressured Asia to renounce Christianity and accept Islam. In June, the pressure became especially strong.
On Friday, June 19, there was an intense discussion among the women about their faith. The Muslim women told Asia about Islam. Asia responded by telling them about her faith in Christ. Asia told the Muslim women Christ had died on the cross for sins, then asked them what Mohammad had done for them, according to VOM sources. She told them Jesus is alive, but Mohammad is dead. “Our Christ is the true prophet of God,” she reportedly told them, “and yours is not true.”
Upon hearing this, the Muslim women became angry and began to beat Asia. Then some men took her and locked her in a room. They announced from the mosque loudspeakers that she would be punished by having her face blackened and being paraded through the village on a donkey. Local Christians informed the police, who took Asia into custody before the Muslims could carry out their plan. She was held at the police station in Nankana city. Christians there urged the police not to file blasphemy charges, but police claimed they were under pressure from local Muslim leaders.
Seventeen months after Asia’s arrest, she was convicted of violating subsection C of Pakistan’s 295 blasphemy law – blasphemy against the prophet Muhammad – and was sentenced to death. No Christian in Pakistan has ever been executed under the blasphemy law, but in several cases,extremists have murdered Christians after their release from prison. Asia’s conviction and death sentence have brought international attention to the country’s blasphemy laws. Christians have called for Asia’s release and for a repeal of the laws, while extremists in Pakistan continue to demand that she be executed.
The Voice of the Martyrs urges Christians around the world to pray for Asia Bibi and her family.
Prison is Tough, Even for the Most Faithful
In April, Asia was going through a rough time. She had to celebrate yet another Easter away from her family. She told her husband, Ashiq, “I am fine, but to be alone and away from my family is frustrating to me. I want to run away from this imprisonment.”
Ashiq encouraged her, and said, “You have been steadfast in your faith so far; be patient and trust in God. He will surely guide you.”
In June, Ashiq reported that Asia was feeling better. She said another group had brought her some food and clothes, and she was thankful for them and for all her prayer supporters.
Monthly Visit With Family
Imprisoned Christian Asia Bibi was visited by her husband, Ashiq, on March 6, 2012. When Asia inquired after her two young daughters, Ashiq told her that the children were healthy and doing well in school. She told him she was feeling discouraged about ever being released.
He said, “Yesterday when we had family prayer, I asked the children what they were praying for. They said, ‘We are praying for those people who are helping us and who are trying to release our Mama.’
At that moment, Ashiq “felt God’s presence, and he said to me, ‘Don’t be afraid, I am with you.'”

Post this PrisonerAlert.com Prisoner Profile on the bulletin board in your church, Sunday School class or Christian school. Share a copy with your pastor, members of your Bible study group or other Christian friends.
Address for Asia Bibi
District Jail
Circulation To Date for Asia Bibi

Please note
When writing a letter, never mention the name of the source of your information or the name of any organization such as Voice of the Martyrs or Prisoner Alert. It is not dangerous for a prisoner to receive letters from individuals, but if an organization is mentioned they may be accused of links with ‘foreign organizations’ and receive harsher sentences. Also, please do not state anything negative about their government. For the latest information, including letter writing tools and helps, please visit PrisonerAlert.com.


Excerpt from an actual letter created on PrisonerAlert.com

I gave thanks for you when I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus. I pray the eyes, ears and hearts of those who persecute you may open to Jesus. Philippians 1:29 For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake. Romans 8:18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

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IRAN: CSW sources confirm that Pastor Nadarkhani is still alive amidst false execution rumours 07/03/2012


Despite rumours circulating that Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani was executed last weekend, sources inside Iran confirmed on Saturday that he was still alive. CSW continues to call for prayer and public action to spread the word about his case.

False rumours of execution

Disinformation and false rumours that Pastor Nadarkhani’s execution had already taken place began to circulate last weekend. CSW’s sources were able to verify on Saturday 3 March that he was receiving a visit from his wife at the time these rumours were spreading worldwide.

Why was Pastor Nadarkhani arrested and given the death sentence?

Pastor Nadarkhani was arrested in October 2009, soon after questioning the Muslim monopoly of religious instruction for children in Iran, which he felt was unconstitutional.

In September 2010, he was tried and found guilty of apostasy (abandoning Islam) and received verbal notification of a death sentence, despite the fact that death for apostasy is not codified in the Iranian Penal Code. The written verdict, which arrived in November 2010, confirmed the death sentence. An appeal was heard by the Supreme Court in June 2011, and verbal notification of a lifting of the death sentence was given.

However, the written verdict, which arrived in July, upheld the death sentence, but made provision for its removed if Pastor Nadarkhani recanted his faith. The Supreme Court also asked the court in Rasht to re-examine whether or not he had practised Islam as an adult prior to becoming a Christian. During the subsequent trial, the pastor was found guilty of apostasy due to his Muslim ancestry and given three opportunities to recant, but refused on each occasion.

Pastor Nadarkhani and his family have been waiting for a final verdict on his case since autumn 2011.

International statements condemning his sentence continued to pour in

Pastor Nadarkhani’s case has received widespread international coverage. In since autumn 2011, statements condemning the death sentence poured in from governments and institutions around the world. Renewed statements calling for his release have been made in the last two weeks amidst renewed fears of his imminent execution. CSW continues to lobby for his unconditional release.

Find out more at www.csw.org.uk/nadarkhani


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Ali Khamenei has been the supreme leader of Ir...

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Iran: Pastor Nadarkhani speaks to wife as lawyers seek confirmation of execution order 24/02/2012


CSW’s contacts report that Pastor Nadarkhani was in contact with his wife this week, although his lawyers are still seeking written confirmation of a report that the order for his execution has been issued. CSW continues to call for urgent prayer and action on his behalf.

Pastor Nadarkhani’s lawyers still awaiting confirmation of execution order

CSW has learned that Pastor Nadarkhani spoke to his wife as recently as yesterday, although his lawyers and the Church of Iran leadership are still seeking clarification and written confirmation of a report that the order for execution has been issued.

Mr Sadegh Larijani, Head of the Iranian Judiciary could stop execution

The Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has not made a decision on Pastor Nadarkhani’s death sentence for apostasy, despite two appeals for him to so from the lower court in Rasht, which originally heard Nadarkhani’s case. He and Mr Sadegh Larijani, the Head of the Iranian Judiciary, are the only people with the authority to stop the execution, but without their intervention the authorities are obliged to carry out the Supreme Court ruling, which stated that Pastor Nadarkhani could be executed if he did not recant.

Pastor Nadarkhani has been offered freedom in exchange for renouncing his faith on at least four occasions, but has consistently refused to do so.

CSW continues calls for Pastor Nadarkhani’s release

According to Iranian law, once the execution order is officially confirmed, Pastor Nadarkhani’s lawyers would have a final opportunity to stop the execution if notified in time. However, it is not uncommon for the Iranian authorities to execute a prisoner without notification. In 1990, Pastor Hossein Soodmand was executed without notification.

CSW’s Advocacy Director Andrew Johnston said, “In sentencing Pastor Nadarkhani to death for apostasy, Iran has so far flouted its own law and the principles of the international covenants to which it is signatory. We therefore have no confidence that the Iranian authorities will follow due process and notify his family and legal team if a decision to execute him has indeed been taken. We urge the international community to press the Iranian authorities for the release of Pastor Nadarkhani and to urge them to follow their own laws with regards to guaranteeing freedom of religion for Christians and other minorities in Iran.”

I want to…


Learning of the imminent threat of execution, CSW is mobilising worldwide prayer on behalf of Pastor Nadarkhani –you can join CSW’s facebook group in support of Pastor Nadarkhani and receive the latest prayer and action updates.

Download prayer resources


Your voice could help to save Pastor Nadarkhani’s life: Email Iran’s Chief Justice Mr Sadegh Larijani today!

Download CSW’s lobbying guide.


Make a donation to support CSW’s work in Iran and around the world.

Find out more

Visit the Iran country page

Latest news – Christian Solidarity Worldwide

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Update: Iranian pastor Youcef Nadarkhani to he...

Where are the protests over Pastor Nadarkhani?

The brutal regime in Iran continues to inflict appalling levels of barbarity upon its own citizens.

A Christian pastor, Youcef Nadarkhani, aged 35 and the father of two children, has been sentenced to death for apostasy, a crime for which he was jailed two years ago. But this savage punishment is far worse even than it seems. For Nadarkhani is deemed to have committed apostasy merely because he has Islamic ancestry. Whether he was ever actually a practising Muslim was not even established. The Washington Post reported:

‘The 11th branch of Iran’s Gilan Provincial Court has determined that Nadarkhani has Islamic ancestry and therefore must recant his faith in Jesus Christ. Iran’s supreme court had previously ruled that the trial court must determine if Youcef had been a Muslim before converting to Christianity.

‘However, the judges, acting like terrorists with a hostage, demanded that he recant his faith in Christ before even taking evidence. The judges stated that even though the judgment they have made is against the current Iranian and international laws, they have to uphold the previous decision of the 27th Branch of the Supreme Court in Qom.’

Now the Iranian authorities have claimed he is to be executed not for apostasy at all but for a slew of other crimes. As CNN reports:

‘Gholomali Rezvani, the deputy governor of Gilan province, where Nadarkhani was tried and convicted, accused Western media of twisting the real story, referring to him as a “rapist.” A previous report from the news agency claimed he had committed several violent crimes, including repeated rape and extortion. “His crime is not, as some claim, converting others to Christianity,” Rezvani told Fars. “He is guilty of security-related crimes.”

‘In a translated Iranian Supreme Court brief from 2010, however, the charge of apostasy is the only charge leveled against Nadarkhani. “Mr. Youcef Nadarkhani, son of Byrom, 32-years old, married, born in Rasht in the state of Gilan is convicted of turning his back on Islam, the greatest religion the prophesy of Mohammad at the age of 19,” reads the brief.’

‘… “No one is executed in Iran for their choice of religion,” [Rezvani] added. “He is a Zionist and has committed security-related crimes.” ‘

It is obvious that, faced with mounting outrage around the world – there have been protests from the White House, for example  — the Iranian regime has resorted to trumping up spurious accusations against a man they are persecuting on account of his Christian faith. By seeking to deny the verdict of apostasy that was handed down two years ago, they are trying to conceal above all that Pastor Nadarkhani has been imprisoned for two years and is sentenced to hang because of an Islamic religious precept.

In other words, this barbarism is yet another religious crime being perpetrated by the regime against an Iranian citizen for no reason other than he has transgressed the laws of Islam enforced by a fanatical regime of religious zealots.

Pastor Nadarkhani is but the latest victim of outrages against Christians and other faiths inside Iran. He has twice refused to recant his Christian belief; apparently he is to be asked to do so for a third time on Tuesday, and if he again refuses he could be hanged any time after that.

It is still possible to save this man’s life if enough protest is made. British political leaders should be making their voices heard very loudly against this barbarity by the Islamic Republic of Iran. Have you been hearing them? No, nor have I.


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The Mexican senate yesterday approved an official statement condemning the death sentence for apostasy currently faced by Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani in Iran.
The statement says that “although Iranian officials have claimed that the he was sentenced to death for different crimes and not that of apostasy, the international community has consistently spoken out in defence of Mr. Nadarkhani’s civil and political rights.”
“As such, the statement proposes that the Senate join the international community, and condemns the death sentence handed down to Yousef Nadarkhani for religious reasons.”
The statement quotes Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and Articles 2 and 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which Iran has ratified. Article 18 of the ICCPR states that “No one shall be subject to coercion which would impair his freedom to have or adopt a religion or belief of his choice”, and asserts that “freedom to manifest one’s religion or beliefs may be subject only to limitations prescribed by law and are necessary to protect public safety, order, health or morals or the fundamental rights and freedoms of others.”
The Mexican Senate joins members of the international community including Britain, the US, the Council of the European Union, Canada and members of the Uruguayan Senate in condemning the death sentence for Pastor Nadarkhani on religious grounds.
Pastor Nadarkhani’s apostasy case has been referred to Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Hoseyni Khamenei, for a decision. Two letters have been written to the Supreme Leader by the court in Rasht, asking for his opinion on the case, but so far there has been no response. CSW’s sources have been told that a decision may be issued by the court in mid-December.
On a recent trip to Mexico, CSW’s Chief Executive, Mervyn Thomas, met with members of the Senate, including Senator José Luis García Zalvidea, and discussed a number of issues, including the case of Pastor Nadarkhani. He also spoke at a two-day conference on religious freedom, jointly hosted by CSW and the Federal District’s Human Rights Commission in Mexico City, alongside Jorge Lee, a respected legal expert on religious freedom and equality in Mexico, representing recently-launched CSW Mexico.
He said, “CSW welcomes the resolution by the Mexican Senate. The pastor’s life remains in the balance and it is vital that international petitions for his release continue and that international actors continue to urge Iran to uphold its obligations concerning religious freedom under the ICCPR.”
For further information, visit www.csw.org.uk.

Mexican senate adopts official statement condemning pastor Nadarkhani’s death sentence for apostasy in Iran

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