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‘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

PRISONER NAME
LOCATION
ARRESTED
REVISED

Asia Bibi
Pakistan
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
Sheikhupura
Punjab
Pakistan
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: Church raided in run-up to Christmas  06/01/2012

 

In the run-up to Christmas, a church in southern Iran was raided and all of the congregation including Sunday school children and church leaders were detained.  This latest development is a sign of the continued crackdown on Iranian Christians.

Church raided and congregation detained

Iranian authorities in the southern town of Ahwaz raided the Christmas celebrations of an Assemblies of God-affiliated church, detaining everyone in the building, including children attending Sunday school.

According to CSW’s sources, the authorities herded the entire congregation, including children, into two buses that had been brought specifically for this purpose. The majority were interrogated, threatened and eventually released. Although the majority of the congregation were eventually released, the senior pastor, his wife and two elders were detained, although the pastor’s wife and one of the elders have now been released.  

Church’s pastor has been targeted in the past

Pastor Farhad has been detained on several occasions in the past and warned not to allow Muslim converts into his church. This is also not the first time that Christmas celebrations in Iranian churches have been raided in this way. Similar raids and detentions during the Christmas season have occurred in Iran for the last three years.

This wave of arrest comes as Iranian media has been publicising a Christmas message sent to Pope Benedict from Speaker of the Iranian Parliament, Ali Larijani, in which he congratulated his Christian counterparts on the “auspicious anniversary of the birth of Jesus Christ”, wished blessing, happiness and prosperity to the Pope and all Christians in the coming year, and stated that the world’s ills were caused by ignoring ethics and justice.

CSW speaking up for Iran’s Christians

CSW’s Chief Executive Mervyn Thomas said, “Mr Larijani’s Christmas message may have been well intentioned, but it is entirely undermined by these arrests, which violate the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), and Iran’s own constitution. The Iranian authorities often insist that Christians are being arrested for indulging in actions that threaten public security, however, it is difficult to conceive how children attending Sunday school or, for that matter, legitimate Christmas celebrations fit into this category. It increasingly appears as if the Iranian regime has decided to deem every act of Christian worship a threat to national security. If this is indeed the case, then the right to freedom of religion or belief is gravely under threat in Iran.”

Send cards of encouragement

In response to the arrests the Iranian Church in London is asking for cards of encouragement to be sent to the children, who may have been traumatised by their ordeal. Cards can be sent to Christian Solidarity Worldwide, P.O. Box 99, New Malden, Surrey KT3 3YF. Any mail will be forwarded to the church through CSW’s contacts in Iran.

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Iranian Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani
 Still on Death Row;
 Brazilian Senators
 Plea for His Life
 Brazilian senators have mobilized to support the release of the pastor who is facing execution in Iran because of his faith in Christ.
  • Youcef Nadarkhani
    (Photo: Courtesy of ACLJ.org)
    Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani is seen here in prison in Lakan, Iran. Nadarkhani faces execution for refusing to recant his Christian faith. 
Paulo Paim, a Brazilian Senator (PT-RS), this week sent a petition of a motion in support of Iranian pastor Yousef Nadarkhani to the president of the Brazilian Senate, Jose Sarney.

“Under the Rules of the House, I require a motion in support of the Iranian pastor Nadarkhani Yousef,” he says in the claim.

Pastor Nadarkhani faces execution for refusing to recant his Christian faith although more recent reports have indicated that the charges against him have been changed; saying that he is now on death row for “crimes against national security.”

The mobilization started from an appeal made by another senator, Marcelo Crivella (PRB-RJ) last month. In a speech, he urged his colleagues to call on the Iranian government to release the pastor.

“I would like to ask my fellow senators to make an appeal on behalf of democracy and human rightsin particular, to the Iranian Government to save this innocent man’s life, who was just exercising his right to express his conscience.”

Paim says in the petition, “For Senate Committee on Human Rights is unacceptable and unbelievable that even today, in the twenty-first century, to say that someone will die if he does not deny his faith; that will be killed or have life imprisonment if he does not deny his faith.”

Media organizations, human rights groups, Christian leaders and political figures have all been applying pressure for Iran to free the Christian pastor, and the efforts are, apparently, now bringing positive results. According to the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), which has followed the case closely, the pastor is still alive, despite numerous previous reports saying that his execution was imminent.

Christian Solidarity Worldwide is calling on all Christians to join the prayer day on October 9 for the life of Pastor Yousef.

Iranian officials are set to meet again  in what could be a decisive day for the life of the pastor.

By Andrea Marcela Madambashi | Christian Post Correspondent

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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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Girl’s school expulsion for blasphemy alarms British Pakistani Christians

Girl’s school expulsion for blasphemy alarms British Pakistani Christians

 

Christians make up less than 3 per cent of Pakistan’s population and face severe persecution for their faith, including frequent accusations of blasphemy that can prove fatal

British Pakistani Christians have voiced dismay over the expulsion of a Christian girl from a school over blasphemy allegations.

Faryal Bhatti was accused of blasphemy by officials at Sir Syed Girls High School in Pakistan Ordnance Factories (POF) colony in Havelian, near Abbottabad.

The accusation was made after she misspelled a word in a class test on a poem praising the Prophet Muhammad.

She was reportedly beaten by her teacher over the mistake before the school took the decision to expel her.

A rally was held by local Muslims demanding that criminal charges be brought against Bhatti. At Friday prayers last week, imams said her entire family should be punished.

The decision to expel her was taken by officials following a meeting with the girl and her mother in which Bhatti apologised and tried to explain that it had been a simple spelling mistake.

The girl’s mother, a nurse, has since been moved by the authorities from her place of work at a nearby hospital to another hospital further away from the school.

Wilson Chowdhry, head of the British Pakistani Christian Association, said this was not an isolated incident and that Christians in Pakistani schools are forced to take Islamic lessons and face pressure to convert or take part in Islamic worship.

He said Bhatti’s expulsion “demonstrates that too often there is little difference between the ‘mainstream’ and ‘extremist’ educational establishments in Pakistan”.

He criticised the British Government’s decision to continue investing millions of pounds in Pakistan’s education system when it “routinely and systematically discriminates against and oppresses children of minority religions, and effectively increases Islamic extremist practices”.

“Without extremely stringent controls and monitoring, it is highly likely that even without any of the regular brand of corruption, Cameron will have pledged hundreds of millions of tax-payers money to an education system that effectively furthers Islamic extremism and imperialism at the expense of minority faith children,” he said.

The Centre for Legal Aid, Assistance and Settlement, which provides free legal support to persecuted Christians in Pakistan, has also condemned the blasphemy claims against Bhatti.

Its UK coordinator Nasir Saeed said: “The spelling mistake that Bhatti made was a matter of adding one dot to a word. Just a single dot has made her a criminal and changed her life.

“It is a mistake she may have to pay for the rest of her life as blasphemy charges carry a terrible stigma .

“This is yet another demonstration of how wildly Pakistan’s blasphemy laws are being abused to persecute Christians.

“The Pakistani government should reform the laws immediately to protect the lives of Christians and other minorities who have clearly committed no crime.”

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