Wife of American Pastor Jailed in Iran Pleads for Help From U.S.
Religion TodayReligious persecution, missions, Christianity around the world
- 2013 Mar 15
The wife of an American Christian pastor imprisoned in Iran told lawmakers Friday in emotional testimony on Capitol Hill that she's "disappointed" with the State Department's lackluster involvement in the case -- as her lawyers accused the government of going completely "AWOL" in the face of Saeed Abedini's plight, Fox News reports. Naghmeh Abedini described how her two young children could not understand what happened to their father, who was sentenced to eight years in prison in January: "They kept saying, 'Does Daddy not love us anymore?' ... And I had to tell them that he was in prison because he loved Jesus." The description of the State Department's involvement in the case provided by witnesses Friday stood in stark contrast to what administration officials have claimed in response to questions from the media. While U.S. officials have claimed they're pressing for Abedini's release, the witnesses said a State Department desk officer last year told Naghmeh "there is nothing the United States government can do for you." Attorney Jordan Sekulow said the same officer called Naghmeh as she was boarding the plane for Washington on Thursday to tell her, "You've never asked for our help." The State Department also declined to attend the hearing Friday despite being invited. "The State Department is AWOL," fellow attorney Jay Sekulow claimed. "I'm disappointed that our president and our State Department has not fully engaged in this case," Naghmeh said. "I'm disappointed that this great country is not doing more to free my husband -- a U.S. citizen. I expect more from our government."