Berlin summons Iran diplomat over sentenced pastor

Mar 3, 2012, 12:57 PM

BERLIN (AP) – The German government says it has summoned Iran’s ambassador to press for the release of a pastor sentenced to death for converting to Christianity.

The Foreign Ministry said Saturday the ambassador was told Friday that Germany’s government condemns detention and sentencing because of one’s faith as a breach of fundamental human rights.

It says Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle expects “an immediate stop of the trial against Yusuf Naderkhani and his release.”

Naderkhani, who is in his early 30s, converted to Christianity when he was 19 years old and later became a pastor in the Iranian city of Rasht. He was convicted of apostasy in 2010.

The U.S. government, the European Union and human rights organizations have repeatedly urged the Iranian leadership to release him.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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Berlin summons Iran diplomat over sentenced pastor