Jan 22, 2013
Jan 25, 201
Jan 25, 2013
The American Center for Law and Justice reports: After more than 235,000 petition signatures, dozens of ACLJ media appearances, tireless efforts from his wife, Naghmeh, letters signed by 49 Senators and Representatives, and media coverage, both the U.S. State Department and the White House condemned Iran for its imprisonment of Pastor Saeed Abedini, a U.S. citizen. Both have called on Iran to release him. On Friday, at the State Department’s daily news briefing, Victoria Nuland discussed Pastor Saeed’s case.
QUESTION: Firstly, we had a story a few days ago on Saeed
Abedini, this U.S. citizen jailed in Iran, reporting that he
might get bail. Do you have any information on that and on his
MS. NULAND: We remain very concerned about U.S.
citizen Saeed Abedini, who is detained in Iran on charges related to his
religious beliefs. Mr. Abedini’s attorney had only one day to present his
defense. And we remain deeply concerned about the fairness and the transparency
of his trial. We condemn Iran’s continued violation of the universal rights of
freedom of religion, and we call on the Iranian authorities to respect Mr.
Abedini’s human rights and to release him. We are in close contact with his
family as well and we’re actively engaged in the
QUESTION: So no indication that he was let out on
bail as, I think it was, this Iranian news agency seemed to suggest that might
MS. NULAND: I don’t have any positive news to
report on this, unfortunately.
For the first time, White House spokesman Jay Carney responded forcefully about Pastor Saeed’s case during today’s regular briefing with reporters. Carney condemned Iran and urged Iran to release Pastor Saeed. Here is a transcript of that exchange:
Q: U.S. Pastor Saeed Abedini has been on trial in Iran over the course of this week. His supporters say yesterday he was transferred to another prison unit, ostensibly to get him better medical attention and that he’s kind of disappeared since that time. There are also reports from his supporters that he may have been beaten while he was in captivity. Has the president been getting any read outs on what is happening there and has there been anything the administration has been able to do to try and assist in his case? I know we have limited contact with Iran, but have there been any diplomatic attempts to try and influence what is happening there?
JAY CARNEY: Well, I can tell you a couple of things. One, that we remain concerned about Saeed Abedini, who is, as you mentioned, detained in Iran on a charge related to his religious beliefs. The State Department is in close contact with his family and is actively engaged on this case. As you know, Mr. Abedini’s attorney had only one day to present his defense and earlier this week, Mr. Abedini was not allowed to attend his own trial, so we remain deeply concerned about the fairness and transparency of that trial. We condemn Iran’s continued violation of the universal right of the freedom of religion and we call on the Iranian authorities to release Mr. Abedini. On the first part of your questions about the reports that he might be missing, I would refer you to the State Department. They are, as I said, actively engaged in this case.
Q: Are there any diplomatic channels that the White House has been able to use in this case?
CARNEY: That would be a question for the State Department
This morning Pastor Saeed’s wife, Naghmeh excitedly shared with us this report:
Thank you for all who have prayed these last few days! We are seeing so many answers to prayer! US State Department and White House made statements demanding Saeed to be released and NOW, we are told about his whereabouts…See update below
Update: Saeed’s Family Told American Pastor is in Different Ward in Iran’s Evin Prison (visitation is on Monday only, i.e. they didn’t see him).
Today, the family friend who was threatened by Iranian officials because he was assisting them in attempting to place bail, returned to court to retrieve some documents. A court administrator told the family friend to let Pastor Saeed’s lawyer know that he needed to come to court because they would be releasing Pastor Saeed soon. Pastor Saeed’s wife, Naghmeh, is understandably anxious to confirm her husband’s whereabouts and condition. “We have been told so many things about Saeed,” said Naghmeh. “I don’t believe anything the Iranian government says about my husband. See the ACLJ full report here
Christians have come together in love and support of Pastor Abedini and his family
Many have asked what more they can do. Please note below instructions:
1- We need to continue contacting our Democratic Congressmen and Senators who have not raised their voice and concern over Saeed’s imprisonment.