An Iranian Christian prisoner has decided to go on a hunger strike despite suffering from intense physical pain in order to protest the rejection of his conditional release.
"Vahid [Hakkani] has suffered intense physical mistreatment and has been in dire need of medical treatment throughout his detention, and he was transferred to a hospital to receive some necessary treatment," Todd Daniels, International Christian Concern's regional manager for the Middle East, told The Christian Post in an email Thursday. "He and his family have pressured the government to grant him a conditional release so that he can receive the treatment he needs, but the officials have repeatedly denied this request."
Hakkani, who is a Christian convert from the city of Shiraz, was arrested along with three other men in February 2012 and later sentenced to three years and eight months in prison by Iran's Revolutionary Court for attending house church gatherings and contacting foreign Christian ministers, which is forbidden in Iran. more >>
U.S. pastor Saeed Abedini was reportedly pinned down and shackled on Wednesday at an Iranian hospital, where he was also denied much needed surgery.
"This morning Iranian guards lashed out violently against Pastor Saeed and an elderly relative who had been able to visit him in the hospital. Pastor Saeed was pinned down and shackled. His elderly relative was roughly handled and expelled from the hospital," the American Center for Law and Justice, which represents Abedini's wife and two children in the U.S, stated.
According to the law group, Abedini was moved over a week ago from Rajai Shahr Prison to a private hospital in Iran where he underwent various tests for a deteriorating medical condition and received nourishment. And although he was promised that he would undergo surgery to address chronic pain in his stomach area - the result of numerous prison beatings - Abedini was sent back to the prison without being treated and doctors giving him nothing more than pain medication. more >>
U.S. pastor Saeed Abedini, currently serving an eight-year prison sentence in Iran, has been given a "glimmer of hope" for clemency after Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif mentioned a possible reduced jail sentence.
"Could Iran be willing to give Pastor Saeed clemency? Could it be willing to release him to return to his wife and two children here in the U.S.?" the American Center for Law and Justice, which represents Abedini's wife and two children in the U.S, wrote in a statement on Monday.
"One thing is for sure: Pastor Saeed's release would be a monumental humanitarian gesture for Iran. Clemency would give Iran the opportunity, within their own judicial system, to release Pastor Saeed and show the world that it is serious about changing its human rights' record." more >>
U.S. pastor Saeed Abedini has been transferred from the murderer ward to the political prisoner ward in Rajai Shahr Prison in Iran, but his health problems are continuing to worsen and he needs surgery.
"Make no mistake. Pastor Saeed is still in the deadliest prison in Iran facing deteriorating medical conditions. This is the first positive step, however slight, since his transfer from Evin Prison last November," the American Center for Law and Justice, which represents Abedini's wife, Naghmeh and their two children in the U.S., revealed on Wednesday.
This was also the first time Abedini's Iranian family has been allowed to visit him in six weeks. And although he will now receive slightly better treatment, including better meals, his family has said that his numerous medical problems continue to worsen, and he is still throwing up and suffering from pain in his abdomen. more >>
Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said on Thursday that nuclear negotiation talks with the U.S. reveal the western country's enmity toward Iran and Islam. He also described the U.S. as "Satan."
While speaking in the religious city of Qom, Khamenei said that the talks between Iran and the U.S. do reveal America's enmity, but this enmity will not stop the Middle Eastern country from pursuing negotiations for their nuclear weapons program and an easing of their international sanctions.
"We had announced previously that on certain issues, if we feel it is expedient, we would negotiate with the Satan (the United States) to deter its evil," Khamenei said, as reported by the official IRNA news agency. more >>
Farsi-speaking Iranian Christians have suffered a new setback after it was announced that they will no longer be allowed to attend one of the major churches in Tehran, following increased government pressure.
"The squeeze on Christians inside Iran continues. Even while [President Hassan] Rouhani spoke about religious freedom during a Christmas message last week, the clamp down on Christians, especially Muslim Background Believers, has increased," Jerry Dykstra, director of Media Relations at watchdog group Open Doors USA, shared in an email to The Christian Post on Friday.