For the first time since he was abruptly transferred from Evin Prison to Rajai Shahr Prison earlier this month, American Pastor Saeed Abedini was allowed visitation with his Iranian family.
This is a positive sign that international pressure continues to work to keep Pastor Saeed alive. Pastor Saeed’s Iranian family has, for the past two weeks since his transfer, been prevented from visiting him – something they had previously been permitted to do once a week during his imprisonment in Evin Prison.
It is also the first physical confirmation of Pastor Saeed’s condition and life since his transfer to the brutal prison.
Pastor Saeed remains in the violent criminal ward – Ward 3 – of Rajai Shahr, sharing at 3 meter by 3 meter cell with other prisoners. This particular ward of the deadly prison holds some of the worst criminals in Iran – murderers and rapists.
International human rights organizations have reported that prisoner on prisoner violence, including murder, is routine at Rajai Shahr Prison.
Pastor Saeed’s situation remains dire. However, we are encouraged that his Iranian family was allowed visitation – and that his Iranian family was able to see him face-to-face and communicate with him. Pastor Saeed, however, has yet to receive the medication he has been prescribed for internal injuries suffered at the hands of his captors.
We believe that prayer and strong international pressure – the outcry of hundreds of thousands of people around the world – are keeping Pastor Saeed alive.
Last week the U.S. Senate unanimously passed a bipartisan resolution calling for the release of this U.S. citizen and key members of the European Parliament wrote a letter raising Pastor Saeed’s case.
A similar resolution is pending in the U.S. House of Representatives. The House Foreign Affairs Committee has announced that it will take up the resolution (H. Res. 147) this Wednesday. These statements, resolutions, and letters from U.S. and international government leaders are key to Pastor Saeed’s case.
We must not allow him to be forgotten. We must not allow him to disappear.
We continue to urge President Obama – who has previously directly spoken out about Pastor Saeed’s case – and the U.S. State Department to reengage this issue at the highest levels. As international negotiations continue with Iran regarding its nuclear program, Pastor Saeed’s freedom must be a chief concern. Human rights and specifically religious freedom – the first freedom – is a critical step forward for any nation on the world stage.
The time is now for Iran to release Pastor Saeed.
In the days leading up to the nuclear negotiation deadline on November 24th, both the U.S. Congress and the United Nations are taking a firm stance against Iran’s violation of human rights. As the Washington Free Beacon reports : The United Nations late Tuesday voted to condemn Iranian human rights...
It’s becoming increasingly clear that President Obama has no intention to actually “destroy” the Islamic State. Even his much-vaunted air war represents a mere shadow of American military capabilities. Here’s Max Boot in a must-read post over at Commentary , comparing the air effort in Iraq and...
CNN’s Christiane Amanpour has once again raised American Pastor Saeed’s plight in an exclusive interview with Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani. Rouhani was in the U.S. to address the United Nations General Assembly. He was asked specifically about Pastor Saeed’s illegal imprisonment because he is a...
Tonight the first of over 500 scheduled prayer vigils for Pastor Saeed and the persecuted Church was held in front of the White House. As the early morning hours of the day marking two years of illegal imprisonment began in Iran, Franklin Graham, Pastor Saeed’s wife, his kids, my dad Jay Sekulow...