This week for the first time, the U.S. State Department in its daily press briefing spoke out about American Pastor Saeed Abedini who has been imprisoned in Iran for his Christian faith. The State Department expressed its “serious concerns” about his fate and acknowledged that the sole reason for his imprisonment in Iran is because of his “religious beliefs.”
The ACLJ is pleased that the time has come that the State Department has begun to speak out about the abuse of this American citizen. They should have, however called for the immediate release of Mr. Abedini.
Pastor Saeed’s imprisonment for his Christian faith is a clear and absolute violation of international human rights laws, and we urge the State Department to employ every available measures to secure the immediate release of Pastor Saeed, an American citizen.
The State Department’s statement is below:
“We have serious concerns about the fate of two U.S. citizens detained in Iran, Amir Hekmati and Saeed Abedini. Let me start with Mr. Abedini. He was arrested by Iranian officials more than three months ago on charges related to his religious beliefs. We understand that a hearing will be held soon, and we call on Iranian officials to respect Iran’s own laws and provide Mr. Abedini access to an attorney.”
Over 66,000 Americans have already spoken out on Pastor Saeed’s behalf urging action from the U.S. government to free this persecuted pastor. As we saw repeatedly in Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani’s case, when thousands of people here in America and around the world take action, governments listen, and that immense international pressure led to Pastor Youcef’s eventual release both times Iran has imprisoned him.
Please continue to pray, share his story, and sign our petition for his release.
Jordan Sekulow is Executive Director of the American Center for Law and Justice.