Two Christians are among the 11 prisoners of conscience released earlier this week by Iran, which has also been called to release other detainees, including American Pastor Saeed Abedini.
"CSW welcomes the release of Maryam Jaiili and Mitra Rahmati, Nasrin Sotoudeh and the other prisoners. While this positive step by the Iranian government is to be commended, it is by no means sufficient given the vast number of political prisoners and prisoners of conscience," Christian Solidarity Worldwide Chief Executive Mervyn Thomas said in a statement.
"CSW continues to call for the unconditional release of all of these prisoners, including Farshid Fathi, Benham Irani, Saeed Abedini, Shahin Lahooti, the seven Baha'i leaders, and others who belong to religious minorities and have been unjustly detained." more >>
The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) has launched the largest campaign in its history with aims of sending thousands of letters each week to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, petitioning for U.S. Pastor Saeed Adedini, who has been imprisoned for 52 weeks.
"Using a brand-new website that raises awareness for the persecuted church and gives a voice to the voiceless, we're asking you to write a letter to President Hassan Rouhani asking that he free Pastor Saeed," ACLJ Executive Director Jordan Sekulow said in a letter to supporters on Monday.
"We've written text you can use, or you can customize to send your own message, but our goal is simple: 52,000 letters asking President Rouhani to save Saeed." more >>
Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei accused the U.S. of using the "pretext" of chemical weapons to attack Syria, and warned on Thursday that America will "suffer" if it decides to intervene in the conflict.
"The United States is wrong about Syria, and it is certain they will suffer... just like in Iraq and Afghanistan," Khamenei said, according to Al Jazeera.
The chief of Iran's elite Quds Force unit, Qassem Soleimani, added in a separate statement that Iran would stand behind Syria "until the end." more >>
Imprisoned Iranian-American pastor Saeed Abedini has suffered a "devastating blow" after Branch 36 of the Tehran Court of Appeals declined to reduce his 8-year prison sentence, defying strong international pressure.
"While we remained hopeful that Iran would use its own appeal process to finally show respect for Pastor Saeed's basic human rights, again Iran has demonstrated an utter disregard for the fundamentals of human rights," said Jordan Sekulow, executive director of the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), which represents Abedini's wife, Naghmeh, and their two children.
"We are exploring all options with Pastor Saeed's family, including options in this country and abroad to bring more pressure on Iran from the U.S. and other countries around the world. The decision is deeply troubling and underscores Iran's continued violation of principles of freedom of religion, association, peaceful assembly, and expression," Sekulow continued. more >>
A Revolutionary Court in Tehran has sentenced an Iranian Christian convert to 10 years in prison for his Christian work, according to an Iranian Christian news agency.
Mohammad-Hadi Bordbar, who was arrested on Dec. 27, 2012, was sentenced by Branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court in Tehran, according to Mohabat News. The judgment was delivered by Judge Pir-Abassi, a judge notorious for his harsh sentences.
Bordbar, aka Mostafa, was given five years for his membership in an "anti-security organization" and an additional five-year term for being part of a gathering with alleged intent to "commit crimes against national security." more >>
American Pastor Saeed Abedini's health has taken a turn for the worse and he is fainting from severe amounts of pain, according to his family in Iran who were able to visit him in Evin Prison, where he is serving an eight year sentence.
"Unfortunately, we have learned that Pastor Saeed's internal injuries are causing him increased pain," the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), which represents Abedini's wife and two children in the U.S., revealed in a post on Monday.
"Pastor Saeed has been suffering from internal bleeding – the results of intense beatings he has sustained in prison for his faith." more >>