Target: U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton
Goal: Demand freedom for U.S. citizen unjustly sentenced in Iran.
Saeed Abedini, a U.S. citizen born in Iran, was recently sentenced to eight years in one of Iran’s harshest prisons for preaching Christianity in Iranian homes. He has been accused of threatening the national security of Iran. Since his arrest in September of 2012, Abedini has been tortured and could only attend one day of his trial, which began January 21, 2013. Please sign this petition and demand that the U.S. State Department advocate for Saeed Abedini’s release based on the universal right to freedom of religion.
Saeed Abedini had been arrested nearly 10 times in the past by Iranian authorities for supporting home churches. During his last arrest in 2009 he agreed to stop working with Christian home services and has since taken nine trips to Iran to visit family and continue non-religious humanitarian efforts. Abedini felt safe continuing his work and visits to Iran since he had had no dealings with the authorities after promising to stop religious affiliated work. The 32-year-old father of two says his recent trips were only to establish an orphanage, and that he has not been preaching Christianity. Last summer, the pastor was on a bus crossing from Turkey into Iran when immigration officials took his passport and he was later put under house arrest. In September, he was jailed while awaiting trial.
According to the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), Iranian authorities have been lying about all aspects of the case, even releasing rumors of his expected release. During Abedini’s trial, he and his attorney were shut out of most proceedings. Abedini and the ACLJ believe these politically motivated charges and harsh sentencing stem from his conversion to Christianity from Islam 13 years ago. The judge in the case has faced sanctions by the European Union “because of his harsh sentences for those on trial for exercising a fundamental human right,” the ACLJ reports.
While a U.S. State Department spokesman has condemned Iran’s actions and called for Abedini’s release, more action must be taken. Please sign this petition and demand that the State Department advocate for and demand the release of U.S. citizen Saeed Abedini.
Dear Secretary Clinton,
Saeed Abedini, a U.S. pastor doing humanitarian work in Iran was recently sentenced to eight years in jail for attempting to undermine the Iranian government. Abedini used to lead home churches in Iran in the early 2000s when the state did not consider such activities a threat; however, recent visits have not involved Christianity. During his last arrest in 2009, Abedini agreed to stop supporting home churches and has since had no trouble when visiting family and contributing to humanitarian efforts in Iran. Last summer immigration officials took his passport and he was put under house arrest to await trial. In September 2012, Abedini was taken into custody and his eight year sentence was recently announced.
Since September, Saeed Abedini has been jailed in one of Iran’s most notorious prisons, Evin Prison. He has reportedly been beaten and tortured since his arrest and his hasty trial provided no justice for his case or his rights as a human. Abedini and his attorney were left out of most of the court proceedings. The judge in the case has faced sanctions by the European Union, “because of his harsh sentences for those on trial for exercising a fundamental human right,” according to the American Center for Law and Justice.
As the Secretary of State, it is your job to negotiate diplomacy with other countries as a United States advocate. Please demand that Iran release Saeed Abedini after violating his universal right to freedom of religion.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: ag.org via Yahoo