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ICC Note: Pastor Saeed Abedini remains in custody in Iran, serving an eight year prison sentence for his religious beliefs. According to the most recent reports, Saeed is currently being held in a hospital where he has received some treatment for injuries sustained from beatings, but has not received a necessary surgery for internal bleeding. Numerous world leaders have advocated for his release and yet Iran seems determined to continue holding him.
03/26/2014 Iran (News Max) – As more nations call for his release, an Iranian-American pastor imprisoned in Iran for his Christian faith remains hospitalized for injuries he suffered from beatings.
Saeed Abedini, a U.S. citizen, converted from Islam to Christianity in 2000 and was ordained a minister in the United States in 2008. He was arrested in 2012 after returning to Iran to work on an orphanage project, and was sentenced to eight years in prison on charges of “undermining national security” by attempting to spread his faith.
Since then, his supporters say he has been subjected to beatings that have left him in intense pain and in need of surgery.
Earlier this month, attorneys from the American Center for Law and Justice said that although Abedini had been taken to a hospital, they learned from family members that he had been shackled by Iranian guards, prompting an international outcry.
Abedini has since been unshackled but has never received the surgery he needs to treat internal injuries, Jordan Sekulow, ACLJ’s executive director, told Newsmax.
While Sekulow says the hospital “is the best place possible” for Abedini so he can receive medical care, he said fears remain that at any time the pastor could be sent back to prison, where medical attention and food have been lacking.
Sekulow, however, praised the heightened efforts of others around the world who are urging Iran to release Abedini.
President Barack Obama spoke out at a recent prayer breakfast about Abedini’s plight, and most recently German representatives joined the United States at a meeting of the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva, where they mentioned the pastor by name and called on Iran to let him go.
“We take this opportunity to call once again for the release of dual U.S.-Iranian citizen Saeed Abedini, who is currently being held in Iran on charges related to his religious beliefs,” Paula Schriefer, U.S. deputy assistant secretary of state for international organization affairs, told the council, which was discussing its global human-rights reports.
“While Iran has begun to shift its rhetoric on human rights, the United States remains deeply concerned that Iran continues to suppress free expression and civil society, harass members of its ethnic and religious minority populations, and imprison human-rights defenders and journalists for political purposes,” she said.
Sekulow said keeping Abedini’s story alive around the world is crucial to securing his release.

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