U.S. Pastor Imprisoned in Iran Moved to Facility for Violent Criminals

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  • Inmates in Rajai Shahr Prison known to kill fellow prisoners
  • Pastor Saeed Abedini move may be caused by internal political fights
  • Nuclear talks open rift between Revolutionary Guard and Rouhani

BY: :

An U.S. pastor imprisoned in Iran for preaching Christianity has been moved to a facility housing Iran’s most violent criminals, sparking fresh concerns about his safety and calls for President Barack Obama to apply more diplomatic pressure on the Iranian regime.

American Pastor Saeed Abedini has been transferred from the Evin prison in Tehran to the Rajai Shahr Prison, about an hour-and-a-half away in Karaj, according to the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ). The Rajai Shahr Prison holds many of Iran’s most violent offenders, including convicted murderers and rapists.

Jordan Sekulow, executive director of ACLJ, said in an interview that it is common for prisoners in the death row ward where Abedini has been placed to kill each other. The Iranian regime has sent those it views as troublemakers there in the past to “have them executed without having to kill them on [their] own,” he said.

Sekulow noted that Abedini’s transfer comes as the United States and other world powers are set to discuss Iran’s nuclear program in Geneva on Thursday and Friday.

“By making this move it would appear that there are elements in Iran that are trying to undermine the negotiations,” he said. We don’t know if we have until Thursday at this point—it’s that bad of a situation.”

Read more at Free Beacon

Congressmen Join Prayer Vigil for Imprisoned American Pastor in Iran

Ted Cruz at Saeed Abedini prayer vigil / Andrew Evans

Ted Cruz at Saeed Abedini prayer vigil / Andrew Evans

BY: :

Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas), members of Congress, and a representative from the State Department joined a prayer vigil on Thursday afternoon in front of the White House to protest Iran’s imprisonment of Saeed Abedini, a Christian pastor and American citizen.

Thursday marked the one-year anniversary of Abedini’s imprisonment in Iran’s Evin prison in Tehran.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with Saeed,” Jane Zimmerman, deputy assistant secretary for human rights at the State Department, told the assembled crowd.

“We’ve been working that issue very publically as well as privately and doing everything we can to try to secure his release,” Zimmerman told the Washington Free Beacon after her remarks.

Abedini is a dual American-Iranian citizen and a Christian pastor who lived in Boise, Idaho, with his wife and two children. Abedini was in Iran last year to set up a secular orphanage when Iranian forces arrested him and sentenced him to eight years in jail for threatening national security. He recently lost his final appeal.

The imprisonment of Saeed Abedini has garnered headlines recently as Abedini’s wife delivered a letter from her husband to Iranian President Hassan Rowhani in New York asking for her husband’s release and CNN’s Christiane Amanpour asked Rowhani about Abedini’s imprisonment.

Rowhani was in New York for the United Nations General Convention.

“It’s a fundamental violation of universal norms and international human rights to arrest someone for their faith and their conscience,” Zimmerman told the Free Beacon, “and clearly he’s a prisoner of conscience for his beliefs.”

Abedini spends much of his day in solitary confinement in a jail cell measuring two feet by two feet, said Jordan Sekulow, director of international operations at the American Center for Law and Justice. The pastor has been beaten and is suffering from internal bleeding. His supporters do not expect him to survive the eight years in prison.

Sen. Cruz and several representatives from Congress joined the prayer vigil.

“Pastor Abedini’s crime was simply following his Christian faith,” Cruz said.

Cruz told the crowd about a resolution he has introduced in the Senate that would allow President Barack Obama to meet with Rowhani only if he affirms Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state and releases American prisoners in Iran.

Cruz then led the crowd in prayer for Abedini.

“We ask you to be with him as you were with Daniel in the lions den,” Cruz prayed, alluding to the biblical story of a Jewish man who was thrown into a den of lions in Babylon for practicing his faith.

Rep. Trent Franks (R., Ariz.) criticized the Obama administration for its silence and the “disregard” it has shown for religious freedom

Read more at Free Beacon

CAIR Releases Islamophobia Propaganda Report “Legislating Fear”

Breitbart:

islamophobia-report-coverThe Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) released a report titled “Legislating Fear – Islamophobia and its Impact in the United States” on Thursday. The report profiles and accuses several individuals, websites, organizations of being anti-Islamic and spreading so called “Islamophobia” throughout the United States.

The controversial organization, that was named an unindicted co-conspirator in the U.S. government’s 2007 Holy Land Foundation trial and reportedly built ties with the current administration is hitting back at its critics in this report.

Among the offenders in its report, CAIR names:  Fox News, The Washington Times, The Rush Limbaugh Show, The Mark Levin Show, National Review, Eagle Forum, Christian Broadcasting Network, American Islamic Leadership Coalition, Family Security Matters, American Center for Law and Justice, Traditional Values Coalition, Donors Capital Fund.

CAIR describes the groups above as part of the “Islamophobia network’s outer core.” They list 32 in total:

Many of the listed foundations were identified by the Center for America Progress Action Fund in Fear, Inc. and are included because they funnel money to the network. Just as providing funds to white supremacist or anti-Semitic groups should be seen as anathema, these foundations must be held to socially responsible standards.Outer Core groups are noted throughout this report, but will be given a fuller examination in a subsequent document.

CAIR discusses 37 groups within “Islamophobia’s network’s inner core” :

CAIR identifies 37 groups in the Islamophobia network’s inner core. The  impact of eleven of these groups is local in nature. Five of the local groups are based in Florida: Americans Against Hate, Citizens for National Security, Counter Terrorism Operations Center, Florida Family Association and The United West. ACT! For America is headquartered in Florida as well. The influence of these groups spans a full spectrum from minimal, such as the Sheepshead Bay, New York’s Bay People, to significant, such as ACT! For America, the Center for Security Policy, Jihad Watch, Atlas Shrugs and the Investigative Project on Terrorism. The Inner Core is examined at length in the next section of this report.

CAIR also goes after individuals like American businessman Foster Friess for his 2012 PAC donation support of GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum. CAIR says it is critical of Santorum for “endors[ing] profiling of Muslims during a presidential debate.”:

On his website, Friess lists among his key issues “helping peaceful Muslims … to transcend the 7th century ideology of violence, intimidation, and coercion that threatens them … and us.” 7 Leading the cause, according to Friess, are inner core groups such as Brigitte Gabriel and ACT! for America, Dr. Zuhdi Jasser and the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, Frank Gaffney and the Center for Security Policy, and Jihad Watch.

CAIR claims the key factors that increased “islamophobia” in the U.S. in 2011 and 2012 include the employment of anti-Muslim trainers and training materials at the FBI, military, and other government agencies and the use of “anti-Muslim rhetoric” by Republican presidential candidates.

The organization also does not appreciate that then House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Peter King (R-NY), whom CAIR calls “anti-Muslim” held “five hearings targeting the entire Muslim community.”

CAIR and other like-minded groups managed to convince top government law enforcement officials to purge training materials and books that were deemed offensive to Muslims as well as trainers accused of being “anti-Muslim.”

Lies and a Conviction: Iran Mocks Justice – Convicts and Sentences American Pastor Saeed

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Petition to Save Pastor Saeed Abedini from Iranian Prison

ACLJ:

By Jordan Sekulow Jan. 27, 2013

Our worst fears have been realized. This morning in Tehran on an empty promise that American Pastor Saeed Abedini might be released, his lawyer came to court.  The lawyer had no formal notice that his presence was required, only the casual request less than 24 hours before from a court administrator to a family friend that the lawyer should come to the court because it was releasing Pastor Saeed.  But this was all a lie.

Upon arriving at the court, Dr. Naser Sarbazi, Pastor Saeed’s lawyer, saw his client. He knew he had been deceived.

Without family present, Judge Pir-Abassi of Branch 26 of the Iranian Revolutionary Court – known as the “hanging judge” – verbally convicted and sentenced Pastor Saeed to eight years in prison for threatening the national security of Iran through his leadership in Christian house churches.  The evidence provided was of Pastor Saeed’s Christian activities primarily during the early 2000s, when under President Khatami house churches were not perceived as a threat to Iran. Despite Iranian law requiring a written verdict, none was given.

Here’s the troubling reality: A U.S. citizen, who has been beaten and tortured since his imprisonment last fall, is now facing eight years in Evin Prison, one of the most brutal prisons in Iran.

We represent Pastor Saeed’s wife, Naghmeh, and her two children who live in the U.S. Upon hearing this injustice, Naghmeh, said: “The promise of his release was a lie.  We should not trust the empty words or promises put out by the Iranian government.  These false hopes amount to psychological torture.  You don’t want to trust them, but they build a glimmer of hope before the crushing blow.  With today’s development I am devastated for my husband and my family.  We must now pursue every effort, turn every rock, and not stop until Saeed is safely on American soil.”

We know that with the Iranian Revolutionary Court, Pastor Saeed’s conviction and sentence had to be approved at the very top – The Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei had to sign off.

Iran has not only abused its own laws, it has trampled on the fundamentals of human rights.  We call on the citizens of the world to rise up in protest.  We call on governments around the world to stand and defend Pastor Saeed.  As his wife has pleaded, starting with our own government, every effort must be pursued. We are calling on the State Department and the White House, which have both called for Pastor Saeed’s release, to engage further.

This is a real travesty. An U.S. citizen faces a lengthy prison term for simply because of his Christian faith.  Pastor Saeed now faces eight years in a harsh prison – likely facing life-threatening torture and abuse at the hands of the Iranian regime.

Please continue to pray for Pastor Saeed and his family. We will continue to utilize all of our efforts to see that justice is served and Pastor Saeed is safely in the arms of his loving wife and two children back home in the United States.

Jordan Sekulow is Executive Director of the American Center for Law and Justice.

Iranian Christian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani – 1000 Illegal Days

Published on Jun 27, 2012 by    

Iranian Christian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani has been charged, convicted and sentenced to death for apostasy — becoming a Christian. When Iranian officials demanded that he recant his faith in Jesus Christ or die, he responded, “I cannot.” He has been illegally imprisoned and separated from his wife and two boys since 2009. We are fighting to save his life and win his freedom.

The ACLJ has confirmed that Iranian judicial authorities have ordered Christian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani to appear in court on September 8th. The purpose of this court appearance is unclear at the present time, but it will come exactly two months after Pastor Youcef’s 1,000th day in an Iranian prison.

Sunday, July 8th, marks Pastor Youcef’s 1,000th illegal day of imprisonment for his faith in Jesus Christ: 1,000 days apart from his wife and two young boys; 1,000 days resolute in his refusal to recant his Christian faith.

Watch the video above, and share his story. He was arrested in October 2009, convicted and sentenced to death in September 2010 because of his faith, and his execution sentence was affirmed in September 2011 when he said “I cannot” recant my faith.

The worldwide call for his release continues as the ACLJ’s Tweet for Youcef campaign is now reaching more than 2.5 million Twitter accounts in 234 countries and territories around the globe each day. Sign up for Tweet for Youcef today, and if you have already signed up, see how far your impact for Pastor Youcef has gone.

We are urging everyone to commemorate Pastor Youcef’s 1,000th day in prison this Sunday, by praying, tweeting (please use the hashtags #Nadarkhani & #1000illegaldays), and sharing his story with others.

Go to the ACLJ website for a timeline of key events of his #1000 illegaldays in prison. You can share each key moment on Twitter and even print it out to give to your pastor.