The State Department’s 2013 Report on International Religious Freedom was released yesterday, and imprisoned pastor Saeed Abedini was mentioned in the document several times.
The report highlighted cases of injustice across the globe, but Secretary of State John Kerry placed special emphasis on Abedini during his presentation.
“In Iran, U.S. Iranian citizen Pastor Saeed Abedini remains imprisoned,” he said. “The Iranian authorities sentenced him to eight years behind bars simply because of his religious beliefs.
“We will continue to call for his release and we will continue to work for it. And make no mistake: We will continue to stand up for religious minority communities under assault and in danger around the world, from Jehovah’s Witnesses to Baha’is to Ahmadi Muslims.
“So we have a long way to go to safeguard these rights. We also have a long way to go when governments use national security as an excuse to repress members of minority religious groups.”
Abedini, who became a Christian in 2000, was arrested in September 2012 for proselytizing, but maintains that he traveled to his native country to help build a state-run orphanage. He has been beaten by inmates and guards while incarcerated, and was temporarily transferred to a hospital after suffering internal injuries from the assaults. He was sentenced to eight years in prison in January 2013.
The International Report described what government interventions have been made on Abedini’s behalf.
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SOURCE: Christian Today