Saeed’s Whereabouts Unknown to Family, Raises Concerns
Iranian guards turned away the family of American Pastor Saeed Abedini this morning when they attempted to visit him in Evin Prison. They were told Saeed was not there. On Monday, the first day of his trial and the only day he was allowed to be present and make a defense, Pastor Saeed’s attorney, Dr. Naser Sarbazi, asked that Saeed be moved from his current ward in Evin to ward 305, so that he could receive better medical treatment. Judge Pir-Abassi told Saeed’s attorney that he would see to it. However, since then, no indication has been given to Saeed’s attorney or his family that this move would take place. It's important to note this is one of Iran's “hanging judges” who told family members that Pastor Saeed would be released on bail. The fact is the family's repeated efforts to secure Pastor Saeed's bail have been flatly rejected by Iranian officials, and Judge Pir-Abassi’s own right-hand man threatened a family friend to stop assisting Pastor Saeed’s family. While Pastor Saeed is often able to call his family in Tehran on Wednesdays, they received no communication from him this past Wednesday. And when they went to visit him this morning, they were told he was not there. The guard who monitors visitation did not know where he was but told the family to come back on Saturday when the main office for Evin is open (it is the equivalent of the weekend in Iran now) and request the information. We know that Pastor Saeed has undergone “ intense pains after beatings in interrogations ” while in his current prison ward, and a transfer would allow him to receive improved medical care. And while we and Pastor Saeed’s family are hopeful that Pastor Saeed was transferred to ward 305, the fact that his whereabouts are unknown to his family and attorney is cause for concern. It is critical that we continue to pressure Iran, and urge the State Department to, for the first time, publicly demand his immediate release. Join over 225,000 Americans in signing the petition to save Saeed. We will continue to keep you updated and are working round the clock to secure this U.S. citizen’s freedom.