In Iran, jailed pastor threatened with move to second prison

Thursday, June 27, 2013
Charlie Butts (

An American pastor imprisoned in Iran has been behind bars for 275 days now, and now access to his family is being threatened.

Saeed Abedini, now a U.S. citizen, was jailed late last year when he returned to Iran for a visit and was sentenced to eight years in prison. ( See earlier story)

"The prison guards have threatened to transfer him out of Evin Prison into a much more remote prison in Southern Iran," reports Jordan Sekulow of the American Center for Law & Justice.

Sekulow, Jordan (ACLJ)Abedini's health has improved somewhat and he is getting along well with the prison population, mostly Muslim, but prison workers are threatening to block contact with family, Sekulow tells OneNewsNow.

Transfer to a second prison "would effectively cut off his ability to have those weekly visitations and cut off access," the attorney says.

Sekulow sees that as a veiled threat to dampen his spirits.

Meanwhile, Iranian president-elect Hassan Rouhani has been described as a "moderate," but Sekulow points out that Rouhani still takes his orders from religious leaders.

"The president is not the top official in Iran," Sekulow explains. "When it comes down to religious crimes - religious courts - that that is not within the president's authority."

ACLJ is continuing to try to stir up international pressure to obtain Abedini's freedom.

Meanwhile, the ACLU spokesman says the 50,000-plus letters people wrote to the Iranian government on Abedini's behalf are being delivered to the prison at a rate of 1,000 per week until he is released. 

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Hey, Mr. President, what about that one-child policy in China?

Recently there was a focus on a family-planning policy in Myanmar while the more restrictive policy in China went largely ignored.