House Hearing Set For Next Week On Pastor Saeed Abedini
American Pastor Saeed Abedini, wrongly imprisoned in Iran for over a year, has been forced to endure brutal, abusive treatment in recent days according to press reports out of Iran.
Friends and family of Abedini - as well as many fellow Americans were hoping and praying that his case would be brought up during US negotiations with Iran in Geneva, a couple of weeks ago, but that was not to be. Since then, his situation has become more dire.
Via the ACLJ:
Last month Pastor Saeed was transferred from the political prisoner ward of Evin prison, a notoriously dangerous prison, to the violent criminal ward of Rajai Shahr prison, the deadliest prison in Iran. This week we learned that Pastor Saeed has been repeatedly robbed and threatened at knifepoint in this new prison.
Pastor Saeed’s health is also deteriorating. He is experiencing increased pain in his stomach as he is being denied necessary medication by Iranian authorities. He is malnourished, covered in lice, and losing weight because of horrendous prison conditions.
A joint subcommittee hearing of the House Foreign Affairs Committee has been scheduled for Thursday, December 12th at 9:30am.
Pastor Saeed’s wife, Naghmeh, and Jordan Sekulow of the ACLJ have been asked to testify about Pastor Saeed’s worsening plight.
Sekulow writes, "in light of his deadly situation and the Obama Administration’s refusal to even ask for Pastor Saeed’s release in recent direct negotiations with Iran, it is imperative that Congress speak out. The U.S. State Department and the Obama Administration must make Pastor Saeed’s freedom a true priority. The life of a U.S. citizen – whose only “crime” is his Christian faith – is a stake."
In a recent statement, Senator Ted Cruz called the Obama administration's abandonment of Abedini, and the other political prisoners held in Iran, "unconscionable."
"It is unconscionable that senior American diplomats, including the Secretary of State, who were conducting cordial negotiations with their Iranian counterparts in Geneva in the days after Pastor Saeed’s transfer, could not bring themselves to even mention his name, or those of fellow Americans detained in Iran, Amir Hekmati and Robert Levinson. We are informed by administration officials that the issue of the American prisoners is 'on the margins' of more important diplomatic work, and that in any event, President Obama mentioned Abedini and Hekmati to Iranian President Hasan Rouhani when they spoke by telephone in September.
"The President’s action should not have been an end unto itself but rather the first step in a sustained effort to get these men home. Their unconditional release should be central, not peripheral, to any further agreement with Iran. If the United States was prepared to release an Iranian nuclear scientist, Mojtaba Atarodi, as a good faith gesture paving the way to direct negotiations between our two nations for the first time in more than thirty years, the Iranians should have been required to do at least as much. We should have told them up front that their detention of our citizens and hostile rhetoric against the United States and our ally Israel is unacceptable, rather than engaging, without preconditions, in a negotiation that will provide the Iranian regime substantial sanction relief while doing nothing to curb—let alone end—its pursuit of a nuclear weapon.
"A recent Pew poll reveals that American’s confidence in our position in the world is at an all-time low. For the first time, a majority of Americans—some 53%—believe our global role is declining. Showing clear and decisive leadership on the American prisoners of conscience unjustly detained in hostile nations, including Cuba and North Korea as well as Iran, would be a good place to start reversing this trend."