Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The "Gadfly" is home after being deported from Iran

Pastor Eddie Romero has arrived back in Southern California after being held for 32 hours following a daring protest on behalf of five prisoners of faith

By Dan Wooding
Founder of ASSIST Ministries

LOS ANGELES, CA (ANS) -- The Rev. Eddie Perez Romero, a minister at the Hacienda Christian Fellowship, La Puente, California, has arrived back in Southern California after being arrested outside of the notorious Evin Prison in Tehran, Iran, following his audacious protest on behalf of five prisoners of faith, including Saeed Abedini, the American pastor who has been sentenced to eight years imprisonment for his Christian activities conscience.
The 'Gadfly' addresses the media at Los Angeles International Airport

Romero, who is also known as the "Gadfly", was held for 32 hours after his protest and then took refuge at the Swiss Embassy in Tehran, was greeted by a large crowd of supporters at Los Angeles International Airport on Wednesday, October 23, 2013.

The pastor, who made headlines in 2008 when he was arrested in China for his human rights activism at the Beijing Olympics, denounced what he called the "belligerent" Islamic regime, but also said that he had been treated well after being arrested.

He told reporters gathered at the airport, "We had long good discussions. The primary interrogator spoke very good English. We really had a serious, serious discussion.

"To me it was just a wonderful time together," he added.

Eddie Romero speaking to his supporters
Romero protested outside Tehran's Evin prison, calling for the release of five inmates who he said were prisoners of faith and conscience, including a prominent human rights lawyer.

"We have to do things outside the box," he told supporters and journalists gathered at Los Angeles International Airport.

"Because conventional ways are way too slow, way too slow for people who are languishing in prison, way too slow for families who are hurting to have their loved ones back."

What made his protest amazing was that Romero managed to livestream about five minutes of his protest, before being arrested and taken into the prison for questioning, according to organizers.

He had been traveling with a tour group but left it three days before the protest, and went into hiding. Reports suggested he stayed at the Swiss embassy in Tehran.

"I'm a little bit unkempt right now, only because I have spent four nights on the streets of Tehran as a homeless person," he told reporters.

The pastor surrounded by the many that came to the airport to show their support
"At least that's what I appeared to be, until I was able to go to the gates of the prison and raise my protest, and then be taken in," he added.

Explaining why he did it, he said: "It is for freedom that Jesus Christ has set us free, not for bondage, not for tyranny. It's important for the church to understand that, and to work in many ways outside the box."

"It's enough for a belligerent government to try to stop people to have a good conscience and freedom of faith. I'm just thankful to the Lord for the journey that we've been able to have here."

The prisoners here protested on behalf are:
1. Farshid Fathi, an Iranian Christian pastor
2. Saeed Abedini, a naturalized American citizen from Iran who started an orphanage in Tehran and was arrested
3. Mostafa Bordbar, a Christian activist
4. Alireza Seyyedian, a member of a Christian house church
5. Mohammed Ali Dadkhah, a prominent human rights lawyer in Tehran and co-founder of Defenders of Human Rights in Iran

And if they have learned of his courageous stand on their behalf, they must be thrilled that a Hispanic Christian pastor was willing to put his life on the line on their behalf. The least we can now do, is to pray for each one of them and thank him for for his most unusual protest.

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