In Iran, the family of American Pastor Saeed Abedini was able to briefly visit with Pastor Saeed yesterday – the second time since his conviction and sentence to eight years in Iran’s brutal and deadly Evin Prison for his Christian faith.
Pastor Saeed, a U.S. citizen, remains cut-off from speaking with his wife and two young children who live in Idaho. Prior to his conviction and sentence, he was able periodically to talk with them over the phone. Now, that is prohibited. The fact is Naghmeh, along with their young son and daughter; do not know when, or even if, they will ever hear his voice again.
During Monday’s visit with family, Pastor Saeed expressed apprehension and concern about his fate, openly questioning whether efforts are still underway to secure his freedom. It appears the Iranian prison guards continue their lies – pushing propaganda to try and convince Pastor Saeed that he has been forgotten.
Pastor Saeed's wife, Naghmeh, told us, "When I heard this from my husband, I cried. It broke my heart. Behind those walls he feels helpless and relies on us to be his voice. It is so easy to feel forgotten in the walls of the prison. Please help me make sure he is never forgotten."
We continue our work here at home and around the world to bring attention to Pastor Saeed’s case and generate global pressure on Iran to release him.
Now that Secretary of State John Kerry is on the job, we urge him to follow through with statements provided during the confirmation hearings when he personally called for Pastor Saeed’s release.
We are also working with Members of Congress like Senator Marco Rubio who was instrumental in obtaining Secretary Kerry’s statement, Senator Lindsey Graham who has written a letter to President Obama urging his direct involvement, and many, many others.
In Iran, Pastor Saeed’s attorney filed an appeal yesterday in Tehran. It could take considerable time for the Iranian court to act on the written appeal. It’s important to note, though, as we saw in the case of Pastor Youcef, appeals in these cases often lack any semblance of due process and justice, and are frequently no more than a rubber stamp of the initial unjust trial.
Pastor Saeed has not been forgotten. While Pastor Saeed’s family was able to inform him of some of the ongoing efforts for his release, there is more we can and must do to secure his freedom.
In addition to signing the ACLJ’s petition urging pressure from the international community for his release, we have put together a vital resource page on more ways you can get involved in the effort to Save Pastor Saeed. We have also developed a new website SaveSaeed.org where you can easily sign the petition and share critical information with your friends and family through social media.
Pastor Saeed must not be forgotten. Iran must release this American pastor, this U.S. citizen.