ECLJ Encouraged by International Letter of Concern for Pastor Saeed Abedini
The European Centre for Law and Justice (ECLJ) said today it is very encouraged by the latest international move to place diplomatic pressure on Iran to release American Pastor Saeed Abedini, who is facing life-threatening treatment inside an Iranian prison because of his religious beliefs.
Several influential members of the European Parliament have just written a letter on Pastor Saeed’s behalf to Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the European Union of the Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Council of the European Union. The letter reiterated the resolution the European Parliament passed last month calling for Pastor Saeed’s release.
The letter urged:
"In the resolution the European Parliament expressed its deep concern about the fate of Pastor Saeed Abedini and called on the government of Iran to exonerate and release him. Due to the very serious developments in his situation, we the undersigned Members of the European Parliament, urgently request you to raise the case of Pastor Saeed Abedini to the Foreign Affairs Council and to your contacts in the Iranian administration."
"We are encouraged by this latest development," said Jordan Sekulow, Senior Counsel of the ECLJ. "As international diplomatic negotiations continue with Iran, having Pastor Saeed’s name raised directly with the Iranian government would be vitally important toward securing Pastor Saeed’s release."
The ECLJ is grateful to those who signed on to the letter: Mr. Oldrich VLASAK, Vice-President of the European Parliament, Mr. Struan STEVENSON, chair of the European Parliament Delegation for relations with Iraq, Mr. Ryszard LEGUTKO, leader of the Polish Law and Justice delegation in the ECR Group, and Peter VAN DALEN, co-chair of the Working Group on Freedom of Religion or Belief of the European Parliament.
Pastor Saeed, a 33-year-old husband and father of two, has been illegally detained in Iran for over a year. In January 2013, the Iranian government convicted him of intentionally undermining the security of Iran through gatherings of Christians in private homes, and sentenced him to eight years’ of imprisonment.
The American Center for Law and Justice, an affiliate of the ECLJ, has launched a massive social media campaign to generate support for Pastor Saeed. More than 180,000 individuals have joined in the campaign to send letters to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, and over 625,000 individuals have signed a petition calling for Pastor Saeed’s release.