On numerous blogs on these pages, I have written about the plight of Pastor Saeed Abedini, an American citizen, who was sentenced to eight years in the notorious Evin Prison in Iran for his Christian faith in Iran. The American Center for Law and Justice (“ACLJ”) announced recently that, upon appeal, Pastor Abedini’s eight-year sentence was affirmed. Somewhat strangely, the two-judge appellate court refused to give Pastor Abedini’s lawyer a copy of their decision. One of the members of the appellate panel is Judge Ahmad Zargar, who has been sanctioned previously by the European Union for sentencing peaceful protestors against the Islamic regime to long-term and death sentences. Pastor Abedini’s next course of action will be to appeal the case to the Supreme Court in Tehran, or to seek a pardon from the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei.
Pastor Abedini’s wife, Naghmeh, has decried the failure of the Obama administration to advocate forcefully for an American citizen languishing in a brutal Iranian jail. (I suppose that since Pastor Abedini doesn’t look like Mr. Obama, he is not a priority for him. And certainly Mr. Obama could never have been Pastor Abedini years ago either.) Shamefully, Mr. Obama has not spoken one word about the plight of Pastor Abedini, and the lapdog White House press, or any other media outlets, have not asked Mr. Obama any questions about the imprisoned Pastor. I find this particularly heartrending as today Mr. Obama will speak at the 50th anniversary of Dr. King’s historic speech defending freedom. I am reminded that Dr. King observed, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” Indeed it is.
The human rights record of the present administration has been, to be charitable, lacking in concern. In a recent article entitled, The Citizen of the World Presidency, published in Commentary, Elliott Abrams, a former high-ranking State Department official, wrote:
[Obama administration human rights] policy has been marked by indifference. When the people of Iran flooded the streets to protest the theft of their presidential election in June 2009, President Obama was silent for 11 days. This was an early sign that “engagement” was to be with regimes and rulers, not populations—not even, as it turned out, with Muslim populations, and not even with Muslim populations rising up in protest.
He then goes on to cite other examples. I urge you to write a card or short note of encouragement to Pastor Abedini. Letters to prisoners do help and are a great source of encouragement to them. Further, with letters from Christian believers from around the world, prisoners are often treated more humanely. Please tell Pastor Abedini that the international community is advocating for his release. However, please do not say anything negative about the Iranian government. You can write to Pastor Abedini at the following address:
Pastor Saeed Abedini
Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
For of such, the world is unworthy, but we are privileged to call him Brother Saeed. Please pray for Pastor Abedini, and also for his wife and two children.