Mohammad Ali Dadkhah is an Iranian Muslim attorney who is well known for defending human rights issues in Iran. Dadkhah, along with Shirin Ebadi, a Nobel laureate and others founded the Defenders of Human Rights Center. Over the years he has defended a number of political and religious prisoners. Perhaps his most famous client is Youcef Nadarkhani, a Muslim that converted to Christianity and began preaching the Gospel. After 3 years in prison and living under a death penalty, Pastor Youcef was freed from prison a month ago.
While the American Center for Law and Justice celebrated Youcef’s freedom, they have now received word that his attorney, Dadkhah has been arrested and imprisoned. Dadkhah has made his services available to some clients like Youcef, free of charge. Consequently, the Iranian government considers that to be aiding and abetting in his clients’ crimes and Dadkhani has been sentenced to 9 years in prison, banned from practicing or teaching law for 10 years, fined $1,900 and provided with the choice of an additional fine of $450 or 5 lashes.
In a statement made in July 2011 when Dadkhah was sentenced for his alleged crimes, he said:
“My profession has allowed me to work for 30 years to defend human rights. During this time I have never violated the law or been reprimanded by the Bar Association for any wrong doings. I have always tried to perform my duties to the best of my abilities. The case file against me even stated that I did not charge students for my services. Is selling my service for free a crime?”
The ACLJ staff learned of Dadkhah’s detainment this past weekend. They also learned that he is sent to one of the worst prisons in Iran known as Evin. He will serve his time in a cell with 22 other prisoners in a ward of the prison reserved for political prisoners.
Dadkhah’s sentence had been given him in 2011, prior to the conclusion of Pastor Youcef’s case. After serving a short time in prison, he said that he had worked out an agreement with the Iranian government that would allow him to continue defending Youcef without spending any time in prison. Dadkhah claims that the government most likely made the agreement because of the world media attention given to Pastor Youcef’s case. Now that the case if over, the government is reneging on their part of the agreement and intend to make Dadkhah serve out his sentence even though he met every term of that agreement.
The ACLJ is calling on everyone who prayed and helped provide support for Pastor Youcef to now pray and support the effort to free Dadkhah from one of the worst prisons in the world. All he did was provide legal defense for Christians and some political prisoners free of charge. Please join the effort and pray for Mohammad ali Dadkhah, a Muslim who helped free a Christian.