WASHINGTON – The American Center for Law and Justice’s European counterpart says it is urging the U.N. Human Rights Council to demand Iran immediately release American Pastor Saeed Abedini from prison.
The European Centre for Law and Justice said the HRC must intervene on behalf of Abedini, who is serving a sentence in Iran for preaching his Christian faith.
The document, filed by the ECLJ with the HRC in Geneva, addresses Iran’s violations of international law and human rights abuses concerning Abedini. It calls for the HRC to demand his immediate release and to publicly condemn his imprisonment.
Abedini is a 32-year-old U.S. citizen facing an eight-year sentence in one of Iran’s most notorious prisons, Evin Prison in Tehran, for no reason other than his religious beliefs.
In the document filed with the HRC, the ECLJ lays out Iran’s human rights violations. Abedini is a dual U.S.-Iranian citizen. The document details how he was arrested by Iranian Revolutionary Guards, repeatedly beaten in prison and denied necessary medical care following his abuse.
He was also denied access to his attorney until mere hours before the trial, which has a judge presiding over it who is so notorious for being corrupt he has been publicly condemned by the European Union.
“This filing with the United Nations represents a significant step forward in generating the international attention and pressure needed to secure the freedom of Pastor Saeed,” said Jordan Sekulow, senior counsel of the ECLJ and executive director of the ACLJ.
“By bringing his story before a global audience, it’s our hope that member states and other organizations will become a strong voice for Pastor Saeed – raising the visibility of this troubling case and putting additional pressure on Iran to free him.”
The ECLJ is able to engage the U.N. directly because of its special consultative status as a non-governmental organization.
Sekulow explained that the U.N. filing puts the pastor’s ordeal in the global spotlight and may bring international pressure on the HRC to intervene on his behalf.
The HRC, which represents 47 member states, says its purpose is to be “responsible for the promotion and protection of all human rights around the globe.”
In prison, Abedini is subjected to physical and psychological torture while his family in the U.S. fights for his release with the help of the ACLJ and the ECLJ abroad, officials said.
In the U.N. filing, which is posted online, the ECLJ cites the Iranian government's violations of the U.N.'s Universal Declaration of Human Rights and International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
The ACLJ has launched a social media campaign to gather momentum and continue to pressure the Iranian government and U.N. on behalf of Saeed. They are encouraging Twitter and Facebook users to use the hashtag #SaveSaeed to bring attention ot the cause.
Sekulow added that the ACLJ has produced a video about the case:
"We encourage people to share the video with their family and friends. And we have launched a new website called SaveSaeed.org."