The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), which focuses on constitutional and human rights law, announced Thursday that American Pastor Saeed Abedini, a U.S. citizen being held in an Iranian prison because of his Christian faith, has told his family that he is being threatened with death.
The letter, released Thursday to family members in Iran, comes just days after the ACLJ learned that his case has now been turned over to an Iranian “hanging judge.”
“The life of Pastor Saeed is in grave danger,” said Jordan Sekulow, executive director of the ACLJ. “When you read Pastor Saeed’s own words, you understand that Iran has absolutely no regard for human rights and religious freedom. And now facing one of Iran’s most notorious judges, Pastor Saeed is in a real sense an American abandoned in Iran.
“The U.S. State Department has done very little to help this U.S. citizen. We continue to press the Obama administration to engage this case—to speak out forcefully on Pastor Saeed’s behalf and put pressure on Iran’s allies to free this American. Time is of the essence.”
In a letter released to family members in Tehran Friday, Pastor Saeed underscores the danger he faces daily:
“This is the process in my life today: one day I am told I will be freed and allowed to see my family and kids on Christmas (which was a lie) and the next day I am told I will hang for my faith in Jesus. One day there are intense pains after beatings in interrogations, the next day they are nice to you and offer you candy,” Pastor Saeed wrote.
The entire letter is available here.
The ACLJ represents Pastor Saeed’s wife and children, who live in the United States. The ACLJ has launched an international campaign with more than 65,000 Americans calling on the United Nations, the U.S. State Department, and Congress to demand the release of Pastor Saeed.
His letter comes just days after the ACLJ learned that Pastor Saeed’s case has now been turned over to Iranian Judge Pir-Abassi, who is often referred to as one of Iran’s “hanging judges” for the numerous individuals he has sent to the gallows.
Pastor Saeed, 32, was granted U.S. citizenship in 2010 through marriage to his American wife. He and his wife, Naghmeh, have two children, a 6-year-old daughter and 4-year-old son. In 2008, Pastor Saeed became an ordained minister with the American Evangelistic Association.
Naghmeh and the children reside in the western U.S. The Iranian government does not recognize Saeed's his U.S. citizenship and for three years he traveled freely back and forth from Iran until this summer when he was put under house arrest.
He was imprisoned in September and recently an Iranian court indicted him on several charges, which have not been made public. In fact, the government has refused to notify Pastor Saeed, his attorney or his family about what’s included in the specific charges. What’s clear is that Pastor Saeed is in prison because of his Christian faith and his desire to share the gospel with others.