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June 5, 2013 12:14 am

Wife of Imprisoned Iranian-American Pastor Pleas Before UN Human Rights Council

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Imprisoned Iranian-American pastor Saeed Abedini. Photo: ACLJ. – The wife of imprisoned Iranian-American Pastor Saeed Abedini, Naghmeh, made an impassioned plea for the release of her husband before the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva on Monday.

“While I do not know the outcome of my husband’s case or whether he will live or die in Evin prison, I do know that the international community must do more to ensure that Iran upholds its obligations to protect all human rights for every individual, regardless of religious creed, nationality, or ethnic background. I call on this body to do more,” Naghmeh Abedini said, according to a transcript from the American Center for Law and Justice, a civil liberties group that has been working for the release of Pastor Abedini.

Pastor Abedini was sentenced to eight years in Iran’s notorious Evin Prison for his Christian faith earlier this year. In March, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called for his immediate release, and a recent State Department report on International Religious Freedom criticized Iran for his arrest and torture.

Abedini’s arrest and imprisonment is part of a larger crackdown on Christianity in Iran, which is largely an illegal underground movement in the country. Several Christian pastors have been arrested, including Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, Pastor Behnam Irani, and more recently, Pastor Robert Asserian, who was arrested last week and had his church, Central Assemblies of God Church (AoG), shut down by Iranian authorities, according to BosNewsLife wire service.

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