Pastor Saeed Abedini’s life at risk – transfer to dangerous prison

November 14, 2013 by  
Filed under newsletter-world

Saeed Abedini is serving an eight year jail term in Iran for his Christian activities

Saeed Abedini is serving an eight year jail term in Iran for his Christian activities

Iran, November 12, 2013: Iranian-American pastor Saeed Abedini’s life is said to be in grave danger following his transfer to one of the deadliest prisons in the world.

The 33-year-old father of two, who is serving an eight-year jail term in Iran for his Christian activities, was moved inexplicably and without notice to Rajai Shahr Prison in Karaj.

Before his transfer on 3 November, Saeed had spent more than a year in another notorious Iranian prison, Evin, where he suffered mental and physical abuse. He has been pressured to try to make him renounce his faith and return to Islam, while severe beatings have caused internal injuries. But Rajai Shahr is even worse.

Most of the detainees there are violent criminals such as murderers, rapists and armed robbers; prisoners of conscience are said to be sent there to disappear. There have been numerous reports of torture, rape, murder and other violations in Rajai Shahr. The prison includes six sections for so-called “edification”, where prisoners are taught the Quran daily.

Jordan Sekulow, executive director of the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), which is representing Saeed’s family, said:

The transfer to this prison is a deeply disturbing development and can only be viewed as a move that puts Pastor Saeed’s life directly at risk.

One diplomat described the prison thus:

Rajai Shahr is the place where political prisoners who are seen as a nuisance, are stowed away. Going to Karaj is a severe punishment. Once in there one stops to be a human being. One is put out of sight, even of human rights activists and the press. In Rajai Shahr, political prisoners have to share cells with dangerous criminals like murderers, rapists and drug addicts who don’t hesitate to attack their cell mates. They have nothing to lose: many of them are condemned to death anyway. Murders or unexplained deaths are a regular occurrence.

Saeed’s wife Naghmeh, who lives in the US, said:

The news of Saeed’s transfer to this prison is most difficult to bear. He is truly defenseless in this prison: defenseless from the abuse and violence of other prisoners; defenseless from a radical government that continues to violate his rights.

It has been suggested that the sudden move may be related to a protest by American pastor Eddie Romero outside Evin prison last month. He called for the release of Saeed, along with three other jailed Christians.

Iranian Christian news agency Mohabat News said it seems that the authorities are transferring political prisoners and prisoners of conscience to other jails to deflect international attention from Evin.

The ACLJ is campaigning for Saeed’s release.

– barnabas team

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