Plea for Pastor Saeed

Last week, Josiah Bain wrote this letter to the editor in the Twin Falls Times News. Josiah, his sisters and brother and parents have been attending Eastside Baptist church for a few years. (posted here with permission.)

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Saeed Abedini — a native Iranian — is an ordained minister and American citizen. He lived in Boise for several years with his wife and children before being incarcerated by the Iranian government in 2012 while building an orphanage and visiting his family in Iran. According to Iranian authorities, he threatened Iranian security through his mission work. From 2012 to 2013, he was held in the Evin Prison, and from 2013 to this day, he has been in the Rajai Shahr prison in the town of Karaj. The old prison was unsanitary, but his new location is even more so. The prison conditions have been labeled “life-threatening” and Pastor Saeed has not been able to have desperately needed medical treatment in his time as an innocent captive.

Although Pastor Saeed is an American citizen, the American government (through the U.S. State Department) has only brought up his case once to the Iranian authorities, who have so far, not been very helpful. In a statement by spokesperson Darby Holladay, the State Department said: “We condemn Iran’s continued violation of the universal right of freedom of religion and we call on the Iranian authorities to respect Mr. Abedini’s human rights and release him,” but not much else has been done for his release.

I petition your readers to contact Gov. Otter and our congressmen and ask them to speak up for this Idaho family. Spread the word using #SaveSaeed and visiting the Be Heard Project’s site for him, http://savesaeed.org/.

JOSIAH BAIN

Twin Falls

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