Comments Off on Letters, prayer vigils to mark one year in jail for pastor in Iran
Washington D.C., Sep 20, 2013 / 02:04 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Supporters of human rights and religious freedom around the globe are joining in prayer and a letter-writing campaign on the one-year anniversary of Iranian imprisonment for Christian pastor Saeed Abedini.
“My wife and children as well as over a billion Christians in the world seek God’s justice and then your consideration of this matter,” Abedini – who is a U.S. citizen – wrote in a Sept. 15 letter to Iranian president Hassan Rouhani, who took office last month.
“Please take immediate action in this regard and do not let me and a lot of people in my ward become the victims of the fire that extremists have made, those who have turned Iran into a vortex of crisis.”
He added that “considering the fact that I came to Iran to serve the orphans, please do not let them make my children orphans and my wife without a guardian.”
Sept. 26 will mark the first anniversary of Abedini’s imprisonment in Iran’s Evin Prison on charges of threatening national security. Human rights groups, however, contend that the pastor’s Christian faith is the real reason for his eight-year sentence.
The one-year anniversary will be commemorated with prayer vigils for the pastor’s release, held throughout the world and across the U.S., including in Washington, D.C., and Boise, Idaho, where Abedini lived with his wife and two children before his arrest.
Raised Muslim in Iran, Abedini converted to Christianity in 2000 and became a U.S. citizen in 2010 after marrying a U.S. citizen.
After his conversion, he worked with house churches throughout Iran until 2009, when the government raised objections, despite the fact that the churches are technically legal in the country. Since then, human rights groups say that the pastor has worked solely with non-religious orphanages in the country. He was arrested in the fall of 2012 during a visit to one of these orphanages.
While in prison, Abedini has reported suffering beatings and a number of internal and external injuries due to his treatment. He had sought an appeal of his conviction, which was denied, leaving his eight-year sentence in place.
In his letter, the pastor asked Rouhani to act upon promises to promote moderation within the government.
“I hope the person who has sworn to protect the rights of citizens and practice the Constitution, issues the required instructions and orders for reviewing my case” according to Iranian law, Abedini (Read More)