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B’nai B’rith International calls for the immediate release of Youcef Nadarkhani, a Christian pastor from Rasht, Iran, who was sentenced by the Iranian Supreme Court to death by hanging for apostasy—“turning his back on Islam” and “converting Muslims to Christianity.”

Earlier this month, Iranian state media declared for the first time since Nadarkhani was charged, tried then sentenced to death in September 2010, that the ruling was instead for other reasons, including violent crimes, Zionism, traitorous behavior and extortion.

“This state-sponsored cruelty is reprehensible,” said B’nai B’rith International President Allan J. Jacobs. “We stand with the international community to insist on his swift and judicious release. We must ensure that justice is carried out for religious minorities and the persecuted in Iran and throughout the world.”

While Iran’s representatives travel and speak out on the world stage under the pretense of respecting its citizens’ rights, Iran continues to persecute, torture and imprison its minorities.

“Once again, the Iranian government’s hypocrisy has been exposed,” said Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin. “Iran maintains its façade of concern for human rights while simultaneously meting out unjustified punishment simply for expressing freedom of religion.”