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Religion Today Blog Christian Blog and Commentary

Kerry Finally Condemns Saeed Abedini's Detention

  • Religion Today
    Religious persecution, missions, Christianity around the world
  • 2013 Mar 25
  • Comments

Last Friday, Secretary of State John Kerry finally addressed the case of Saeed Abedini, the Iranian-American pastor imprisoned in Iran for his Christian faith, WORLD Magazine reports. In his statement, Kerry said he was "deeply concerned" and "disturbed" by Abedini's eight-year sentence in the notoriously brutal Evin Prison. Kerry also condemned what amounts to torture: Abedini has been physically and psychologically abused and denied proper medical attention. In a letter to his wife, Abedini wrote that guards beat him but deny him medical care because they consider him "unclean." Kerry's statement, the first official word from the State Department on Abedini's case, is long overdue: Iranian authorities have detained Abedini for six months for his involvement in the house church movement in Iran, even though he hasn't worked actively with house churches since 2009. His wife, Naghmeh, has ceaselessly lobbied for awareness and action on her husband's case. Earlier this month, she testified during a congressional hearing sponsored by the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission. "Our family needs your help," she said. More than 100 people attended, but none from the State Department. Following the hearing, six congressmen sent a letter to Kerry, condemning the State Department's absence and virtual silence on the case.