Archive for the tag “Iran”

Do you value your freedom? Speak out for Saeed Abedini!

saeed abediniAmericans who value freedom — regardless of political conviction — should be raising their voices against Iran’s sentencing an American citizen to eight years in prison. While Saeed Abedini’s case is at heart a religious freedom case, anyone who holds an opinion or advocates for an action that would result in imprisonment in Iran should be protesting his persecution by the tyrants running Iran and calling for strong action by the U.S. government to win his release.

A strongly bipartisan coalition of U.S. lawmakers has joined the International Religious Freedom Caucus to release a letter to Secretary of State John F. Kerry and urged him to “exhaust every diplomatic avenue possible” to secure Mr. Abedini’s unconditional release.

Henry Waxman (D-CA) wrote “Pastor Abedini’s case exemplifies Iran’s flagrant violation of human rights and religious freedom. We hope that this letter, with its deep support from all across America, will show Saeed Abedini that he is not alone and that we have not forgotten him.” Trent Franks (R-AZ) said, “The overwhelming bipartisanship of our congressional letter to Secretary of State Kerry demonstrates the serious implications of Saeed Abedini’s case in Iran and the need for swift action by our State Department. When a U.S. citizen is unjustly detained and imprisoned—particularly in Iran, a country with no respect for rule of law or fundamental human rights—the State Department should come vigorously to his or her defense. As Secretary Kerry assumes his new position at State Department, the Saeed Abedini case deserves his immediate and personal attention.” Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH) concluded, “This letter informs both Secretary Kerry and the nation of Iran that the members of Congress, and the people we represent, refuse to silently accept this violation of human rights. We will continue to speak out until Pastor Saeed is free to come home to his two young children, his community of faith, and his country.”

Do you enjoy going to whatever movie you want and listening to the music of your choice? Are you pro-choice or stand against anti-gay discrimination? It should not matter to you in the least that Saeed Abedini is being persecuted for his religious beliefs and behavior. He is an American citizen unjustly imprisoned by tyrants.

You ought to do something to express support for this man:

— Watch this video about the impact of the Abedini case.

— Visit the Facebook and Twitter pages of the International Religious Freedom Caucus and reshare their calls for action.

— Sign a petition for the immediate release of this unjustly imprisoned American.

Stand up for Saeed Abedini

Morning Star News reports on Iran’s sentencing of an American citizen, Saeed Abedini, to eight years in prison after a trial in which the accused and his attorney were barred from the courtroom while prosecutors brought testimony against him:

saeed abediniISTANBUL -– Iranian-American pastor Saeed Abedini was sentenced to eight years in Iran’s most notorious prison today for allegedly threatening “national security” by planting house churches years ago. …

“This is a real travesty – a mockery of justice,” said Jordan Sekulow, executive director of the American Center for Liberty and Justice (ACLJ), which represents Abedini’s wife and children in the United States. “From the very beginning, Iranian authorities have lied about all aspects of this case, even releasing rumors of his expected release.”

The verdict comes after a week of false promises of being granted bail and fear for his safety in Tehran’s infamous Evin Prison. Iran’s official news agency reported that the state regime had told the pastor he could be released if he posted bail. When his family in Tehran attempted to free him, however, the bail officer turned them away, according to the ACLJ.

His location was also unknown for the last six days, since his first and only hearing before the judge on Monday (Jan. 21). Prison officials prevented his family from visiting him by claiming he had been transferred to another wing for medical treatment.

During his incarceration, Abedini faced periods of solitary confinement, repeated physical assaults and intense interrogations, “all while being denied access to legal counsel,” according to a letter members of U.S. Congress sent to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Jan 15. …

During the trial [Abedini] presented himself confidently before the judge, ACLJ International Legal Director Tiffany Barrans told Morning Star News.

“He was able to share from the Bible, explaining to the judge that he was motivated by his faith and had no political intention to undermine the Iranian government,” she said.

Abedini has been incarcerated since September. He was arrested when he returned to Iran to visit his family. He first became a Christian in 2000 and was ordained as a member of the American Evangelistic Association in 2008.

Before the verdict was given, the White House, the U.S. State Department, and 49 members of Congress called for his release as a U.S. citizen, fearing that the court was ready to hand Abedini a death sentence.

In a Friday (Jan. 25) press conference, White House Spokesman Jay Carney condemned Iran’s “continued violation of the universal right of freedom of religion, and we call on Iranian authorities to release Mr. Abedini.”

Read the full text of this article by clicking here.
You can make a difference by signing the ACLJ petition calling on President Obama, the Secretary of State, and the U.S. Congress to “take all available diplomatic and legislative action to pressure Iran to respect religious freedom and release Pastor Saeed.”

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