According to Iranian Christian news agency, Mohabat News, Deutsche Welle reported that Nadarkhani's biography was included in the petition prepared by the special commission of the German Parliament. Signatories of the petition expressed their concern over Nadarkhani's life and fate and called on the Iranian government to exonerate him.
Nadarkhani was sentenced to death for denouncing Islam and propagating non-Islamic teachings. Last summer his initial verdict was confirmed by senior judicial authorities.
Members of this special German Parliamentary commission noted in the petition their awareness of "restrictions that limit them in influencing the Iranian regime regarding political and Human Rights issues". However, they made an effort to impact and follow Nadarkhani's case and show proper respect in this regard.
- Repentance, the only way to get released?
Yousef Nadarkhani has been held in Rasht since 2009 and prevented from having visitors. The judiciary of Gilan province has issued a death sentence for this father of two. The Iranian High Court also confirmed this verdict and said the only way for him to avoid being executed is to "recant".
- International efforts to release Nadarkhani
Human Rights organizations have called for Nadarkhani's release several times. In this regard, the latest effort was undertaken by Mr. Tom Koenigs, Chairman of the Committee for Human Rights in the German Parliament, who travelled to Iran to investigate the condition of Nadarkhani.
However, he was not allowed to visit Nadarkhani and returned home empty handed.
Prior to this, the office of the Chancellor of Germany summoned the Iranian Chargé d'affaires and asked him for the immediate release of Nadarkhani.
Besides apostasy, Yousef Nadarkhani was also charged with rape and extortion. These charges were initially stated by the governor of Gilan province and never reported by any other authorities. Also it was not denied.
Yousef Nadarkhani was first arrested in 2006 for his non-Islamic activities.
In addition to government, parliamentary and Human Rights organizations, the governments of United States and Britain also called for his release. Catherine Ashton, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy of the European Union also called on Iran to respect religious freedom and the freedom of its citizens to choose their own religion.
The first apostasy verdict for Iranian Christian converts was issued in 1990 for Rev. Hossein Soodmand in Mashhad and he was executed that same year.