President Obama again called on Iran to release U.S. Pastor Saeed Abedini, who has been in a jail for his Christian faith for nearly two-and-a-half years, as the Middle Eastern nation celebrates the Nowruz holiday, a festival of spring and the beginning of the year in the Persian calendar.
"Today, as families across the world gather to mark this holiday, we remember those American families who are enduring painful separations from their loved ones who are imprisoned or went missing in Iran," Obama said in a statement.
"Saeed Abedini of Boise, Idaho has spent two and a half years detained in Iran on charges related to his religious beliefs. He must be returned to his wife and two young children, who needlessly continue to grow up without their father," he added. more >>
Associate Counsel Matthew Clark of the American Center for Law and Justice has said that he hopes the U.N. Human Rights Council will take up the case of pastor Saeed Abedini, who is serving an eight-year sentence for his Christian faith in Iran.
"The Human Rights Council Working Group looked at the facts, they looked at the evidence and they came to the independent conclusion, as we have, that his detention is arbitrary, that it is in violation of international law and that he should be freed," Clark said, according to One News Now, commenting on the oral intervention last week by its international affiliate, the European Centre for Law and Justice, before the Human Rights Council in Geneva.
"So the U.N. is taking steps to put out there exactly what is happening and what action needs to be taken by the Iranian government to free him." more >>
American Pastor Saeed Abedini, who has been in an Iranian jail for his Christian faith for nearly two-and-a-half years, received an invitation from his son, Jacob, for his seventh birthday next week, and the pastor wrote a letter to him saying, "My chains are keeping me from you," and that he should invite Jesus into his heart and He will fulfill all his needs.
Saeed handed the letter for his son to one of his family members in Iran who was permitted to visit him in prison this week, according to American Center for Law and Justice.
It's a "heartfelt, and at the same time heartbreaking," letter. more >>
U.S. Pastor Saeed Abedini, who has now been in an Iranian jail for his Christian faith for nearly two-and-a-half years, is "shaken" as six of his fellow prisoners were executed around him this week, his wife, Naghmeh, says.
"Saeed was quite shaken as he had to witness 6 fellow prisoners being beaten and taken to be executed (hanged) that day," Naghmeh was quoted as saying in a report by American Center for Law and Justice on Saturday.
"It was a hard and dark day having witnessed that and seeing life being taken. The prison visit was also very hard as the families of those who were executed were crying and wailing," she added. more >>
For the third Christmas in a row, Christian American-Iranian pastor Saeed Abedini, who has been imprisoned in Iran for his faith since 2012, is missing his family. And despite being cold and threatened by inmates in prison, Abedini encouraged Christians in a moving and at times heartbreaking letter to his family from his prison cell to keep hoping in God.
The letter, which Abedini wrote from the Rajai Shahr Prison, was posted on the ACLJ website after he sent it to a family member.
The organization noted that Abedini was allowed see a relative for the first time in more than a month last week. He's also still waiting to receive medical attention for pain and internal injuries he suffered as a result of multiple beatings in prison over the last two years. more >>
Three Iranian Christian leaders have seen their convictions overturned following an appeals hearing, in what persecution watchdog groups are hailing as an encouraging victory. Pastor Matthias Haghnejad and Deacon Silas Rabbani have been granted their freedom after their six-year sentences were overturned, but pastor Benhram Irani is still serving six years for previous convictions.
Christian Solidarity Worldwide confirmed the court's decision in an email to The Christian Post on Tuesday. The group's Chief Executive, Mervyn Thomas, said in a statement:
"We are extremely pleased to learn of the release of Pastor Matthias Haghnejad, Deacon Silas Rabbani, Hossein Baraunzadeh and Rahman Bahman. While we welcome this news, we remain concerned at the continued detention of Amin Khaki and long-term prisoners like Behnam Irani and Farshi Fathi – all of whom who have been unjustly detained." more >>