A very important update from The American Center for Law and Justice:
by Jordan Sekulow
March 12, 2014
American Pastor Saeed Abedini’s case has taken a turn for the worse.
He has been shackled and refused medical treatment at a hospital, as
Iranian guards forcibly ban visitors.
A little over a week ago, Pastor Saeed – a U.S. citizen – was moved
from Rajai Shahr Prison to a private hospital in Iran. He was told he
would receive further tests on his deteriorating medical condition and
undergo surgery to address chronic pain in his stomach area – the result
of numerous prison beatings.
For the past week and a half, he has undergone various tests and
received much needed nourishment. This had been a very positive
development and much needed reprieve for Pastor Saeed.
Today, that all changed. This morning Iranian guards lashed out
violently against Pastor Saeed and an elderly relative who had been
able to visit him in the hospital. Pastor Saeed was pinned down and
shackled. His elderly relative was roughly handled and expelled from
The guards stated that they had a court order banning visitors and
instructing that he be shacked at all times. Hospital doctors also told
Pastor Saeed that he must leave the hospital and return to prison.
They are refusing to provide him with anything more than mere pain
medication. They have denied him surgery – the only treatment that will
help. They have even denied him test results.
The timing of both of these moves is very suspect. In what appears
to be a move to put Iran in a favorable light, Pastor Saeed was moved to
the hospital, something his Iranian family has been actively seeking
for months, coinciding with the arrival of the High Representative of
the European Union, Catherine Ashton in Iran. However, as soon as she
departed Iran, Pastor Saeed was informed that he would be moved back to
prison without receiving any real treatment.
The EU has been faithfully raising Pastor Saeed’s case for some time,
and this move would allow Iranian officials to report that he was
receiving medical treatment if his case was brought up during the EU’s
visit to Iran.
This disturbing turn of events reiterates the need to keep pressure
on Iran. As soon as pressure is let up, the situation gets worse. Iran
must not be allowed to continue to abuse and mistreat Pastor Saeed out
of the public spotlight. The Iranian government is wrongfully
imprisoning him and denying him needed medical care because he is a
Christian. Each day apart from his family and away from the care of
physicians is another human rights abuse.
While Iran’s actions seem to undercut the sincerity of Iran’s leaders
in promising the world change in Iran, there is still an opportunity
for President Rouhani and Iran’s Supreme Leader to act.
March 21st is the Iranian new year, a time when clemency is often
granted to prisoners of conscience. If Iran wants the world to see it
in a new light, now is the time to grant clemency for Pastor Saeed.
Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif said clemency could be possible. Now
would be the time.
We are continuing to fight for Pastor Saeed’s freedom. Right now a
legal team from both our U.S. and international offices is meeting with
world leaders at the United Nations office in Geneva.
UPDATE (3.14.2014): After an explosion of protest on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media, Iranian officials have stated that Saeed's brutal treatment earlier this week was "a mistake," and have unshackled him. He is being allowed to remain in the prison hospital, but has not yet received the surgery he requires so badly. Prayers continue.
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