House of Unjust Imprisonment
You have come to the place of departure and it is time to leave. But will you be allowed to leave?
This is the house of unjust imprisonment. You can leave only by the grace of God. You can only leave because of the efforts and prayers of others. You can only leave if your guard allows it.
Leaving from this space is more than just freedom, it is a true escape and a great mercy, the more so because you leave behind all those who can never leave.
Youcef Nadarkhani's story
Youcef Nadarkhani is going with you. He is a Christian pastor in Iran who refused to give up his Christian faith. The problem was that he was a convert from Islam (which he said he never really practised) and Amnesty has reported that he was also unhappy about compulsory lessons in Islamic teaching for his children. He was sentenced to death for apostasy. He was offered the chance to give up his Christian faith but is reporting as telling the authorities 'I am resolute in my faith and Christianity and have no wish to recant'.
His sentence was finally reduced to three years for 'acting against national security' and because he had already served that time in prison he was allowed to go home.
As you pause upon this threshold, take a little time to reflect on what Youcef might feel and on what you have seen and done in the various cell-spaces within this house.
In this final space are some items for you to take away with you if you wish, but you must first make room in your backpack by getting rid of whatever is holding you back or weighing you down. Perhaps there are things here which you really don't need any more if you are leaving with your life and your freedom intact.
- A bar of soap
- A Bible
- An orange
- A child's drawing
- A bus ticket to a new life
- A new appreciation of fresh air or daylight