The Rev. Saeed Abedini has been imprisoned in his home country for three months after traveling there as part of a Christian humanitarian effort, the American Center for Law and Justice announced Wednesday.
Abedini’s supporters launched a public awareness campaign Wednesday that they hope will influence Iranian authorities to set him free.
Naghmeh Abedini spoke with Sean Hannity on his Fox News TV program Wednesday night.
She also described her family’s ordeal in an interview with Jordan Sekulo, executive director of the ACLJ, that was released to journalists. The conservative Christian organization, founded by televangelist Pat Robertson, is representing the Abedini family at no charge.
Naghmeh Abedini said her husband converted to Christianity about 12 years ago.
“He has been sharing that everywhere he’s gone, inside or outside of Iran,” she told Sekulo. “Unfortunately, the Iranian government sees that as a national threat.”
Abedini’s church is located near Boise Towne Square; on Wednesday it helped launch the public awareness campaign, including publicizing a link to an online petition that urges the U.S. government to intervene on Abedini’s behalf.
Saeed Abedini has been held in Iran before, but this is the first time he’s faced formal charges, according to the justice center. The organization said an Iranian court has not revealed the charges, but they do relate to his Christian faith.
Abedini, 32, became a U.S. citizen in 2010. He and his wife, also a U.S. citizen, have a 4-year-old son and a 6-year-old daughter. The family last saw Abedini in June, when he left for Iran to visit family and to continue his efforts to spread the word of Christianity there. He was put under house arrest in Iran before being imprisoned in September, according to the center.
Naghmeh Abedini told Sekulo that her husband has been beaten in prison but that she has been able to talk to him on the phone.
“I just plead that we do what we can to get him out of Iran,” she said. “He’s done nothing against the Iranian government or their national security.”
The American Center for Law and Justice is a Washington, D.C-based organization with affiliated offices in six countries. It focuses on constitutional and human rights law and has several times represented the families of Christian pastors in other countries, including Youcef Nadarkhani, who was released in September after three years in Iranian captivity.
Meghann M. Cuniff: 377-6418