The 33-year-old American-Iranian pastor, Saeed Abedini, held in an Iranian prison might finally be over as his wife and legal team travel to Geneva to present the case to the United Nations Human Rights Council. They will urge the organization to push harder for the pastor’s immediate release.
The American-Iranian pastor is serving an eight-year prison term in the Evin prison of Tehran. He was imprisoned for his Christian faith belief. His wife Naghmeh and their two young children reside in Idaho. She has been telling his story to various media outlets and testified before government, hoping for intervention and assistance in obtaining his release.
His wife reported that her husband had been in the brutal prison long enough, and is suffering serious injuries, including internal bleeding because of the prison torture and frequent beatings. According to several of his supporters, Pastor Abedini had endured long stints of solitary confinement. He did not receive proper medical attention and they raised a serious concern regarding his well-being. She said her husband and many other Christian believers had been imprisoned for their faith.
She told a media outlet in an exclusive interview that he had not broken any laws. Her husband Saeed among others were persecuted because of their faith. She hoped that her tireless mention of the unbearable situation would bring a better understanding about this situation and lead to help of their release.
She told reporters that the she had not spoken to her husband since early January this year. Apparently, close family in Iran received a weekly telephone call from Saeed Abedini and managed to include her and the children into the conversation.
Attorney Jordan Sekulow, an executive director of the American Center for Law and Justice, the organization representing the Abenini US based family will refer the matter to the UN Council in Geneva. He said that Naghmeh represented the face Iran’s persecution of Christians and the impact it had worldwide.
Both Naghmeh Abedini and her representing Attorney Sekulow have traveled to Geneva. They will appear before the Plenary Session of the Human Rights Council. He will implore the nations represented on the Human Rights Council to stand up for the most basic of human rights – the right to peaceable assemble of exercising one’s religious beliefs. Attorney Sekulow will argue for the council to urge Iran to release Pastor Saeed Abedini and others.
It was more than a decade ago that Pastor Abedini began working as a Christian leader and community organizer. He helped develop Iran’s underground home church communities for Christian converts, who are forbidden from praying in public churches. It was during 2009 that he was arrested but released after pledging to stop the home-organized churches in Iran.
During 2012, he returned to Iran to help build a state run secular orphanage. It was then that he was hauled from a bus by the Iranian police and imprisoned. Without given a reason for his arrest, he spent months in prison and in January, this year was sentenced to serve eight years.
On 21 May, in the middle of a worship service, Pastor Robert Asserian of one of the largest Persian-language Pentecostal churches in Iran was arrested and taken to an undisclosed location. Later this week the church was shut down by government agents. The Iranian government continues to confiscate Christian literature in an effort to stop conversion from Islam.
While Americans can openly practice Christianity in Iran, Christians who converted from Islam are forbidden to do so.
While the American Iranian Pastor’s Case has received a great deal of media attention, it will ultimately be the decision of UN Council in Geneva who will determine his future.
Written by Laura Oneale