Pastor Saeed’s Case Taken Across Germany and to the European Parliament
I recently traveled to Europe with American Pastor Saeed Abedini’s wife, Naghmeh, to collaborate with German non-governmental organization Internationale Gesellschaft für Menschenrechte (IGFM) in meetings with government officials from around Europe. This opportunity was invaluable to raise the plight of Pastor Saeed and the Christian community that suffers in Iran.
Pastor Saeed is currently serving an 8-year sentence in a deadly Iranian prison simply because of his Christian faith. He is abused, tormented, and refused the medical help he needs to heal from the brutal prison beatings he has suffered.
The ACLJ continues to work with Naghmeh to bring attention to her husband’s plight. Her travels and meetings in Germany renewed her strength to continue to do whatever it takes to bring Pastor Saeed home to her and their two young children.
IGFM graciously scheduled and hosted meetings with government officials, media, and churches throughout Germany. At the German Parliament, Naghmeh addressed the Federal Human Rights Committee. She also met with numerous Members of Parliament committed to advocating for religious freedom.
Additionally, Naghmeh had the opportunity to meet with two leaders from the Protestant Committee of the Christian Democratic Union and Christian Social Union – the two leading parties in Germany – after which the groups issued a joint press release calling for Pastor Saeed’s release. Naghmeh also sat down with Volker Kauder, Chair of Christian Democratic Union, who is second in authority under Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Finally, Naghmeh traveled to the German Foreign Ministry where she met with high-ranking officials, including Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy, Christoph Strässer. Following the meeting, Dr. Strässer immediately released a public statement in which he stated:
“I call upon Iran to quash Pastor Abedini’s sentence – and the sentences of all those imprisoned merely on account of their religious belief – without delay. Until he is released, I appeal to all those responsible in Iran to grant him urgently needed medical treatments, including outside the prison.
Dealing with prisoners humanely and respectfully is a humanitarian imperative.”
At the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, Naghmeh attended a full day of meetings with representatives. IGFM hosted a group meeting of members of the European Parliament, at which Naghmeh spoke about the plight of her husband and other Christians in Iran. Naghmeh also had the opportunity to meet individually with representatives including the Chair of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, a Vice President of the European Parliament, a deputy of the Human Rights subcommittee and delegation for the relations with Iran, among others. They collectively promised to champion Pastor Saeed’s case within the European Parliament and on the international stage.
Additionally, while Naghmeh was in Germany, a vigil was held at the Iranian Embassy in Berlin on behalf of Pastor Saeed and other prisoners. At the vigil, IGFM delivered a petition on Pastor Saeed’s behalf.
Speaking about her trip, Naghmeh commented, “The European and German politicians showed me that I am not alone during this very painful and difficult time. Their support has given me renewed hope and strength to continue to speak out for my husband.”
The ACLJ continues its international advocacy on behalf of American Pastor Saeed Abedini, meeting with global leaders to bring continued awareness to his plight. We are grateful for the excellent work being done throughout Germany and at the European Parliament by IGFM on Pastor Saeed’s behalf. Continued international pressure has helped free persecuted Christians before and we pray that it will again.
Next Tuesday, Naghmeh will testify here in the United States before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, urging Congress to use its power to ensure Pastor Saeed and the other American hostages are brought home before any finalized nuclear deal. Stand with her and us as we urge Congress to do the right thing and save Pastor Saeed.