American Pastor Saeed Abedini’s case has taken a turn for the worse.
According to a story by Jordan Sekulow for the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), Abedini has been shackled and refused medical treatment at a hospital, as Iranian guards forcibly ban visitors.
A little over a week ago, Abedini, a U.S. citizen, was moved from Rajai Shahr Prison to a private hospital in Iran. He was told he would receive further tests on his deteriorating medical condition and undergo surgery to address chronic pain in his stomach area – the result of numerous prison beatings.
For the past week and a half, he has undergone various tests and received much needed nourishment.
The ACLJ said, “This had been a very positive development and much needed reprieve for Pastor Saeed.”
However, that has all changed. Iranian guards “lashed out violently” against Abedini and an elderly relative who had visited him in the hospital. Abedini was pinned down and shackled. The relative was treated roughly and thrown out of the hospital.
The guards stated that they had a court order banning visitors and instructing that he be shacked at all times.
The ACLJ said hospital doctors also told Abedini he must leave the hospital and return to prison. They are refusing to provide him with anything more than pain medication and are not allowing him surgery – the only treatment that will help. They have also denied him test results.
The timing of both of these moves is very suspect, the ACLJ said.
In what appears to be a move to put Iran in a favorable light, Abedini was moved to the hospital, something his Iranian family has been actively seeking for months.
This coincided with the arrival of the High Representative of the European Union, Catherine Ashton in Iran. However, as soon as she left Iran, Abedini was told that he would be moved back to prison without receiving any real treatment.
The EU has been raising Abedini’s situation for a while, and this move would allow Iranian officials to report that he was receiving medical treatment if his case was brought up during the EU’s visit to Iran.
The ACLJ commented, “Iran must not be allowed to continue to abuse and mistreat Pastor Saeed out of the public spotlight. The Iranian government is wrongfully imprisoning him and denying him needed medical care because he is a Christian. Each day apart from his family and away from the care of physicians is another human rights abuse.”
While Iran’s actions seem to undercut the sincerity of Iran’s leaders in promising the world change in Iran, the ACLJ said there is still an opportunity for President Rouhani and Iran’s Supreme Leader to act.
“March 21st is the Iranian new year, a time when clemency is often granted to prisoners of conscience,” the ACLJ said. “If Iran wants the world to see it in a new light, now is the time to grant clemency for Pastor Saeed. Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif said clemency could be possible. Now would be the time.”
For more information visit www.aclj.org.
SOURCE: ASSIST News Service