Saeed Abedini, a 35-year-old Pastor, father, and husband from Idaho, is currently imprisoned in Rajaei Shahr prison in Iran
On 28 July 2012, during a visit to Tehran to visit family and to finalize the board members for an orphanage he was building in Iran, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard detained Saeed, asserting that he must face criminal charges for his Christian faith. After intense interrogations, Saeed was placed under house arrest and told to wait for a court summons. On 26 September 2012, instead of receiving a summons telling him where to appear, five members of the Revolutionary Guard raided Saeed’s parents’ home in Tehran, confiscated many of Saeed’s belongings, and took him to an unknown location. After four days the Revolutionary Guard informed the family that Saeed was in solitary confinement in the notorious Evin Prison.
Obama angered by CBS reporter’s question about Americans held in Iran:
See the look on Obama’s face when Major Garrett asks him the question? He is shocked and outraged that a member of the main stream media actually had the nerve to ask him a real question and to actually hold him accountable for something. Judging by his hemming and stuttering when attempting to answer, Obama was clearly out of his element.
Throughout Saeed’s imprisonment, he has spent several weeks in solitary confinement. During solitary confinement, Saeed was only brought out of his small cell to be subjected to abusive interrogations. Saeed has been allowed visitation by his family in Tehran, but he has been cut off from his wife and two young children in the U.S.
Saeed had been denied medical treatment for infections that resulted from beatings. While in Evin, the ward doctor and nurse refused to treat him because, as a Christian, he was considered “unclean” and an infidel.
In early 2013, it became known that Saeed was suffering from internal injuries and doctors determined that his injuries warranted immediate attention, and, in their medical opinion, he needed to be treated in a non-prison hospital. For almost a year, the Iranian regime ignored this advice. In March 2014, Saeed was permitted to enter a private hospital for treatment, but after spending almost two months in the hospital, he was returned to prison without having been given surgeries deemed necessary by hospital doctors.
A petition has been started in Saeed’s name, and it quickly received overwhelming media attention. Multiple nations have called for Saeed’s release, and ACLJ attorneys have argued his case before the United Nations. Saeed’s petition has over 610,000 signatures and a letter writing campaign to encourage Saeed has garnered over 50,000 letters. Artists such as Toby Mac, Michael W Smith, Steven Curtis Chapman, Mercy Me, Skillet, Relient K, and Audio Adrenaline have been involved, and lent their voices to raise awareness.
There is still much to be done. Keep up with Saeed’s story through the Be Heard Project. Share his story on social media using #SaveSaeed and #BeHeard.