Founder of ASSIST Ministries
IRAN (ANS) -- According to Matthew Clark, writing for The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) website (http://aclj.org), not only is an American family without their husband and father, Iranian orphans are also being negatively impacted by the unlawful imprisonment of Pastor Saeed Abedini.
Saeed was working to establish this orphanage to help children in need (Photo: ACJL)
"Pastor Saeed was arrested on one of his many trips in recent years to Iran where he was working to establish an orphanage to help children in need," said Clark.
"Now, because Saeed is wrongfully imprisoned, this orphanage can't open. The dozen children this orphanage was intended to house and care for are left without a home."
He went onto say that the "sad irony" is that Saeed actually had the permission of the Iranian government to establish this orphanage in Iran. He had been working directly with the Iranians ensure that his worked complied with Iranian law and was authorized. The purpose of this particular trip was to gain approval for the last board member for the orphanage.
These orphans are left without a home (Photo: ACLJ)
"These children deserve better. Saeed deserves better."
The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), which focuses on constitutional and human rights law, said that the action in late January by an Iranian court of convicting and sentencing American Pastor Saeed Abedini for his Christian faith is a "travesty that sadly underscores Iran's brazen violation of international law and a tragic reminder that Iran is one of the world's worst offenders of religious freedom."
According to ACLJ, in an unexpected development in Iran on Sunday, January 27, 2013, and without family present, Judge Pir-Abassi of Branch 26 of the Iranian Revolutionary Court - known as the "hanging judge" - verbally convicted and sentenced Pastor Saeed to eight years in prison for threatening the national security of Iran through his leadership in Christian house churches.
Jordan Sekulow, Executive Director of the ACLJ, who represents Pastor Saeed's wife and children living in the U.S. says, "From the very beginning, Iranian authorities have lied about all aspects of this case, even releasing rumors of his expected release. Iran has not only abused its own laws, it has trampled on the fundamentals of human rights. We call on the citizens of the world to rise up in protest. We call on governments around the world to stand and defend Pastor Saeed."
Pastor Saeed and his attorney were permitted to attend just one day of his trial, which began January 21st. They were barred from attending and participating in further proceedings. During his imprisonment, Pastor Saeed has been beaten and tortured raising serious concerns about his medical condition.
Pastor Saeed's conviction and sentence in the Iranian Revolutionary Court had to be approved at the very top - The Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei had to sign off.
Pastor Saeed with his family during happier times (Photo: ACLJ)
ACLJ Executive Director Jordan Sekulow added: "Here's the troubling reality: we have a U.S. citizen, who has been beaten and tortured since his imprisonment last fall, now facing eight years in Evin Prison, one of the most brutal prisons in Iran. A harsh sentence in a notorious prison - likely facing life-threatening torture and abuse at the hands of the Iranian regime. Simply because of his Christian faith."
The ACLJ has been working with the U.S. Government and at the United Nations to generate support for Pastor Saeed. Both the White House and the U.S. State Department have condemned Iran and called for Pastor Saeed's release.
Pastor Saeed, 32, was granted U.S. citizenship in 2010 through marriage to his American wife. He and his wife, Naghmeh, have two children, a 6-year-old daughter and 4-year-old son. In 2008, Pastor Saeed became an ordained minister with the American Evangelistic Association. Naghmeh and the children reside in the western U.S. The Iranian government does not recognize his U.S. citizenship and for 3 years he travelled freely back and forth from Iran until this summer when he was put under house arrest. He was imprisoned in September of last year.
ACLJ is encouraging Christians from around the world to sign a petition to "Save Saeed" by going to:http://savesaeed.org