May 8, 2012
Iranian pastor Youcef Nadarkhani's attorney -- called by many a hero for his representation of religious minorities -- may find himself serving a nine-year prison sentence soon, leaving Nadarkhani without a lawyer, Baptist Press reports. Attorney Mohammad Ali Dadkhah -- a Muslim -- said he was convicted of acting against national security, spreading propaganda and keeping banned books at home. He has represented Nadarkhani, who was sentenced to death in 2010 for converting from Islam to Christianity, since the case began in 2009. "This development only reinforces the fact that Iran has no regard for basic human rights," said Jordan Sekulow, executive director of the American Center for Law and Justice. "It also raises further concern about the fate of Pastor Youcef. With his attorney facing nine years in prison, and no other lawyer likely to take the case, Pastor Youcef has no legal advocate, which places him at greater risk." Dadkhah previously told the ACLJ that if he himself were jailed, "no attorney would be willing" to take Nadarkhani's case for fear of "being imprisoned or disbarred" for representing him. Dadkhah represented 12 Christians in Iran in April who had been charged with several crimes, including apostasy, or leaving Islam.