U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is being urged by more than 80 Senators and Representatives to "exhaust every possible option" to try and secure the release of American pastor Saeed Abedini, who is currently being held in prison in Iran.
"This is a significant bi-partisan effort to secure the freedom of a U.S. citizen who faces incredible torture and life-threatening punishment in one of Iran's most brutal prisons – simply because of his Christian beliefs," said Jordan Sekulow, executive director of the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), in a statement on Thursday.
"This letter from a politically broad spectrum of members of Congress underscores the real issue here: the U.S. government must protect its citizens and exercise every diplomatic tool available to secure the freedom of Pastor Saeed. We are very grateful for this Congressional support and urge Secretary Kerry to act without delay. Pastor Saeed's life hangs in the balance. Secretary Kerry's personal involvement in this case is critical to securing the freedom of this American." more >>
The United Nations Human Rights Council has been called to intervene in the case of American pastor, Saeed Abedini, who remains imprisoned in Tehran, Iran, after he was sentenced to eight years in prison following what has been widely labeled, an unjust trial.
The European Centre for Law and Justice (ECLJ), an affiliate of the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), filed a statement on Monday in Strasbourg, France, asking the U.N. Council to call for the release of the pastor, much like the U.S. State Department has done.
"Pastor Saeed Abedini, a Christian with dual United States–Iranian nationality, is currently imprisoned at Evin Prison in Tehran, the Islamic Republic of Iran, because he encouraged peaceful assemblies of Christians in private homes," the ECLJ reminded the U.N. in the written statement. more >>
American pastor Saeed Abedini is reportedly being tortured in an Iranian prison as an appeal against his 8-year sentence is being filed.
"When I heard this from my husband, I cried. It broke my heart. Behind those walls he feels helpless and relies on us to be his voice. It is so easy to feel forgotten in the walls of the prison. Please help me make sure he is never forgotten," Pastor Abedini's wife, Naghmeh, told the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) after visiting her husband on Monday.
The ACLJ, which is representing Naghmeh and the couple's two children in the U.S., added in a media statement that Abedini remains cut off from speaking with his family following the trial in January. He was arrested in September 2012 during one of his many visits to his place of birth while working on an orphanage, and has been imprisoned ever since. more >>
John Kerry, who has been confirmed as the next U.S. Secretary of State, has condemned Iran for its imprisonment of U.S. Pastor Saeed Abedini in comments made on Tuesday.
"We remain deeply concerned about the fairness and transparency of Mr. Abedini's trial," Kerry told Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) when asked for his response to Pastor Abedini's case. "I, along with the U.S. government, condemn Iran's continued violation of the universal right of freedom of religion and call on the Iranian authorities to respect Mr. Abedini's human rights and release him."
Adedini, the 32-year-old Iran-born pastor who was sentenced to 8 years in prison supposedly for "endangering national security" by helping underground churches, is appealing against the decision in what the ACLJ, which represents him, has called a "sham" trial. more >>
The wife of Pastor Saeed Abedini, the American sentenced to 8 years of prison in Iran, expressed her shock at the punishment her husband was given.
"It was a complete shock. The way it was handled by the court was shocking," Naghmeh Abedini said, according to KTVB.
"My first emotion went to my kids. I have a 4-year-old and a 6-year-old, and she will be a teenager the next time she sees her dad and that was pretty devastating and what do I tell them? My daughters heard me say eight years and she said 'what's eight years?' They've been praying every night, and every day they ask is Daddy coming home today? And I didn't want to take that hope away from them and with all the help and support he will come home soon." more >>
Iran's notorious Islamic Revolutionary Court on Sunday convicted Pastor Saeed Abedini, a U.S. citizen, of "threatening the national security" by leading house churches years ago, and sentenced him to eight years in Tehran's Evin Prison. Saeed's wife was "devastated" on hearing the news.
On Sunday morning, Judge Pir-Abassi of Branch 26 of the Iranian Revolutionary Court – known as the "hanging judge" – verbally convicted and sentenced Pastor Saeed to eight years in prison, according to the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), which is representing the pastor's family in the United States.
The court defied Iranian law, which requires a written verdict. more >>