Sunday, May 12, 2013

American Pastor Saeed Abedini Released from Solitary Confinement, Returned to General Prison Population

By Jeremy Reynalds
Senior Correspondent for ASSIST News Service

WASHINGTON D.C. (ANS) -- After more than a week, including his 33rd birthday, spent in the "small dark hole" of solitary confinement, Pastor Saeed Abedini has once again been returned to the main prison population in Ward 350 of Evin Prison.

Saeed Abedini
According to a story by Jordan Sekulow for the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), its sources in Iran have confirmed that Iranian authorities returned Abedini to his cell in Ward 350 yesterday.

The ACLJ said this was a critical development, and raises hope after a very discouraging week.

The ACLJ said it was believed that Abedini may have faced 20 days or more in solitary confinement.

Abedini's wife Naghmeh said, "His release from solitary is a direct result of the multitudes praying. I am relieved my husband is out of solitary, but still am deeply concerned about Saeed's health. While this is a small victory, I am still demanding justice be done and that Saeed be released."

The ACLJ said, "We are hopeful that Pastor Saeed's early return to the general population of Ward 350 is a sign that international pressure on Iran is beginning to have an effect."

Abedini described the first time he spent in solitary confinement, some 200 days ago when he was first imprisoned for his Christian faith, as som e of the worst days he has ever faced. Days felt like years he said.

The ACLJ said the severity of Abedini's medical condition remains a concern. He began complaining of symptoms of kidney issues before he was placed in solitary confinement.

The ACLJ said Abedini, a U.S. citizen, had been confined to solitary since April 29 along with nine other prisoners. The confinement was apparently a retaliatory response to fellow prisoners' protest of Iran's lack of medical care for Abedini and others.

It is unknown how many of the 10 prisoners who were placed in solitary confinement have been returned to the political prisoner ward of Evin.

The ACLJ said more than 575,000 people worldwide have signed a petition for his release. International media, world leaders, and governments including the European Union and United Nations have raised his case. Now, over 50,000 people have written him letters..

The ACLJ said this has led to unparalleled pressure on the Iranian regime.

The ACLJ commented, "The more pre ssure is placed on Iran - the more Iran is put on notice that the world is watching its unconscionable human rights abuses - the regime is forced to take action."
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