This week, at the United Nations Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, representatives of the United States and Germany raised American Pastor Saeed Abedini’s case by name. (See video above.)
The meeting today focused on the report of Ahmed Shaheed, Special Rapporteur on the situation of Human Rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran, as part of the 31st Meeting 25th Regular Session of Human Rights Council.
Germany’s First Secretary of the Permanent Mission to the United Nations Office at Geneva, Ms. Gudrun Masloch, specifically mentioned Pastor Saeed and noted how he has been withheld critical medical treatment in violation of his human rights.
The U.S. also presented remarks today, directly calling for Pastor Saeed’s release.
Paula Schriefer, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs, Head of the U.S. Delegation to the 25th Human Rights Council, stated:
Despite Iran’s change of administration, we have witnessed no significant improvement in Iran’s overall human rights situation. While Iran has begun to shift its rhetoric on human rights, the United States remains deeply concerned that Iran continues to suppress free expression and civil society, harass members of its ethnic and religious minority populations, and imprison human rights defenders and journalists for political purposes. . . .
Religious minorities, from non-Shia Muslims to Baha’is, are subject to similar harsh treatment simply for practicing their religious beliefs. We take this opportunity to call once again for the release of dual U.S.-Iranian citizen Saeed Abedini, who is currently being held in Iran on charges related to his religious beliefs.
We welcome these efforts by the U.S. State Department and the German government to continue placing pressure on Iran to release Pastor Saeed. He remains in an Iranian hospital, free of shackles this week, because of continued public and international pressure on Iran. Yet, he has still been refused the critical medical treatment, surgery, that even Iranian prison doctors say he needs because of internal injuries he sustained from prison beatings.
We are hopeful that persistent pressure from both the U.S. State Department and the international community will lead to Pastor Saeed’s release. We cannot be silent as one of our own – a U.S. citizen – suffers for his faith, wrongfully imprisoned in Iran.
More than 200,000 have signed a petition at BeHeardProject.com calling for Iran to grant Pastor Saeed clemency – freedom. As the Iranian new year quickly approaches at the end of this week, March 21st, Iran has a critical opportunity to release Pastor Saeed in a season that is traditional to grant clemency in Iran.
Please continue to pray, share Pastor Saeed’s story, and sign the petition for his freedom.