A global letter-writing campaign has been launched by a national Christian legal organization after an American pastor imprisoned in his homeland of Iran directly appealed to the country’s president in hopes of obtaining freedom from his bonds.
As previously reported, Saeed Abedini, who fled Iran in 2005 and moved to Idaho with his wife Naghmeh and two children, was arrested last year for allegedly threatening the national security of Iran by planting house churches a decade ago, and for attempting to turn youth in the nation away from Islam and toward Christianity. He had traveled to Iran to build an orphanage and visit his parents last fall, and was about to return to the states when he was taken into custody. Abedini was then sentenced to eight years in Iran’s Evin Prison, where he has served time for nearly one year.
Last month, an Iranian court rejected Abedini’s appeal of his sentence, dealing a devastating blow to both the pastor and his family.
Therefore, Abedini has now appealed to Iran’s newly elected President Hassan Rouhani. According to the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), the pastor recently wrote a personal letter to the president, calling upon Rouhani “to follow through on his pledge of moderation and pleads for compassion and justice so he can return to his wife and children in the United States.”
In the letter, Abedini explains that he was working to build an orphanage when he was apprehended by officials, and that he has been beaten to the point of suffering internal injuries since his incarceration.
“Mr. President, I, like you, believe in moderation and, as a spiritual man, have no interest in politics and did not seek actions against national security, propaganda or political groups,” he wrote. “My purpose in all my attempts in my hometown was to reduce pain and suffering as well as compassion for the poor, orphans and unaccompanied children in accordance with religious rules and the sole intention of pleasing my Savior, Jesus Christ.”
“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 continued. “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. 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.”
Now, the ACLJ has launched a global letter-writing campaign to Rouhani, and has a goal of 52,000 letters from supporters around the world–one for every week Abedini has been incarcerated.
“This is a critical time for this U.S. citizen who has been illegally imprisoned in one of Iran’s most dangerous prisons for nearly one year now,” commented Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel of the ACLJ, in a release about the campaign. “With Pastor Saeed’s direct appeal to the Iranian president and our global letter-writing campaign to urge him to release Pastor Saeed, the new Iranian president can send an important message to the world–that his promise of moderation can be fulfilled by releasing Pastor Saeed from prison.”
“This American pastor has done nothing wrong–imprisoned only because of his Christian faith,” he continued. “We call on Iran to release him so he can return to his family.”
BeHeardProject.com explains the letter-writing campaign and accompanying petition drive in further detail.