Last Friday’s standing-room only hearing before the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission was among the most dramatic I’ve witnessed. There was outrage – outrage not just from me as I declared the State Department “AWOL” in our quest to free an American Pastor, Saeed Abedini — a U.S. citizen — captured by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard and now held hostage in Iran’s most brutal prison – but also from the members of the Human Rights Commission.
In his passionately-delivered remarks, Congressman Trent Franks noted that the Obama State Department had issued dozens and dozens of press releases since Pastor Saeed’s arrest and conviction, yet not one called for Pastor Saeed’s release. To the State Department, posting about “Spring Break for Smart Travelers” was apparently more important than the fate of an American citizen being beaten and abused in an Iranian jail.
But there wasn’t just outrage at that hearing – tears flowed as well. Unlike many Christians who are persecuted and abused in Iran, Pastor Saeed has an American family here at home, living in Idaho. On Friday, his courageous wife, Naghmeh, became his voice before the Commission.
Pastor Saeed is, truly, in chains for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. . . .
You can read the rest of this article which is cross-posted here at FOXNews.com
One of the most important things we can do is keep the story of Pastor Saeed Abedini in the spotlight. This U.S. citizen is facing eight years in a deadly Iranian prison, convicted for his Christian faith.
We know that the situation he faces gets worse day by day. He remains cut-off from speaking with his wife and two young children who live in Idaho. Prior to his conviction and sentence, he was able periodically to talk with them over the phone. Now, that is prohibited. The fact is Naghmeh, along with their young son and daughter; do not know when, or even if, they will ever hear his voice again.
During a recent visit with his family in Iran, Pastor Saeed expressed apprehension and concern about his fate, openly questioning whether efforts are still underway to secure his freedom. It appears the Iranian prison guards continue their lies – pushing propaganda to try and convince Pastor Saeed that he has been forgotten.
Pastor Saeed’s wife, Naghmeh, told us, “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.”
The ACLJ remains committed to working to free Pastor Saeed – mobilizing hundreds of thousands of people worldwide to put more pressure on the U.S. government and international agencies to do all they can to secure Pastor Saeed’s freedom.
In fact, we have produced a new video, which is available here, that tells the story of Pastor Saeed. Please share it with family and friends.
And, as always, please keep Pastor Saeed and his family in prayer.
It’s unlike any judicial system in the world. On Monday, American Pastor Saeed Abedini went to court in Iran with his attorney to address charges of attempting to undermine the Iranian government. The real problem: he converted from Islam to Christianity 13 years ago and started working with house-churches in Iran.
Pastor Saeed and his attorney were able to present a strong defense before a Revolutionary Guard Court on Day 1 of his trial before an Iranian judge who has faced sanctions by the European Union because of his harsh sentences for those on trial for exercising a fundamental human right.
But since that first day, it’s been a different story. Pastor Saeed and his attorney were shut out of further proceedings. Not permitted to attend his own trial. We have been told that the court summoned other pastors to testify on Tuesday. We do not yet know what was said in court, but we do know that the Iranian government often uses threats and intimidation to get the testimony it wants.
All of this is happening as Iran tries to implement a media campaign of distortion – releasing false reports that Pastor Saeed is about to be released on bail. The fact is nothing could be further from the truth.
Iran is simply not telling the truth. Pastor Saeed remains in prison. The family repeatedly attempts to arrange bail for Pastor Saeed. And, each time, the request is rejected by Iranian officials.
I want you to know that we are doing all that we can to get the U.S. government to fully engage in Pastor Saeed’s case. Sadly, there’s still silence from the State Department and Secretary of State Clinton. No public call for his immediate release. No condemnation of the imprisonment of this U.S. citizen.
We remain very concerned about the fate of Pastor Saeed. We represent his wife, Naghmeh and their two children, who reside in the United States. We will continue to bring you updates about what is taking place at Pastor Saeed’s trial.
At the same time, take a moment and add your name to our Petition to Free American Pastor Saeed and encourage our State Department and White House to fully engage this issue to secure the freedom of this U.S. citizen.
More than 225,000 already have signed on to the petition. Add your name now.
An American Pastor is being held in Iran’s most notorious prison – Pastor Saeed, a U.S. citizen, has been told that he “will hang” because of his Christian faith. And, now the Iranian government has put this case on the fast track – and scheduled a trial that’s just days away.
After sustaining painful beatings in Iran’s brutal Evin Prison, he has been told that he “will hang” for his “faith in Jesus.”
His Iranian attorney was able to see the charge brought against him. He will be tried by one of Iran’s notorious “hanging judges.” Time is of the essence. The ACLJ is demanding the U.S. State Department intervene – working with members of Congress to back Pastor Saeed – and calling on the U.N. to apply international pressure to free this American citizen. We represent Pastor Saeed’s wife and two children who are living in the United States.
We need to hear from you. Thousands already have signed on to our Petition to free Pastor Saeed. But with a trial date now just days away, the time to speak out and support Pastor Saeed is NOW. Your voice made a difference in freeing Pastor Youcef from an Iranian prison. Make a difference now. Sign on to our petition now.