US Ambassador calls for Boise pastor's release from Iranian prison

US Ambassador calls for Boise pastor's release from Iranian prison

US Ambassador calls for Boise pastor's release from Iranian prison

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by Scott Evans

Bio | Email | Follow: @ScottEvansKTVB

KTVB.COM

Posted on March 22, 2013 at 4:35 PM

Updated Friday, Mar 22 at 4:40 PM

BOISE -- The wife of captured Boise Pastor Saeed Abedini is getting a little more help this week to free her husband from an Iranian prison.

He's less than a year into an eight-year sentence, accused of being a threat to national security.

His wife, Naghmeh Abedini, says he's really in jail because he is Christian.

Two days ago, several congressmen wrote a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry urging him to make a statement supporting freedom for Saeed.

Then Thursday, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations called for Saeed's release.

"It's been very frustrating wondering why they haven't been so aggressive in speaking out about Saeed," said Naghmeh Abedini.

For the better part of a year Naghmeh Abedini has tried to do everything she can to get the attention of the Obama administration.

She wants her husband Saeed freed from one of the most dangerous prisons in Iran.

"America was founded on freedom, religious freedom, and it's sad to see it's not a priority any more to fight and stand up for religious freedom," said Naghmeh.

Thursday was the first proactive statement made by the Obama administration - given at the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland.

"We repeat our call for the government of Iran to release Mr. Abedini, and others who are unjustly imprisoned, and to cease immediately its persecution of all religious minority communities," said Ambassador Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe.

“It's good that the ambassador spoke out, but it's not enough. We're asking Secretary Kerry to also speak out and take more proactive actions," said Naghmeh.

Last Friday, after testifying before the congressional Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, Naghmeh met with members of the State Department, where promises were made that more would be done.

That was one week ago.

Another promise made came from the Iranian government. They promised to send Saeed to a private hospital to be treated for internal bleeding.

"Until he's in a hospital and treated, we can't really hold on to trust their promises," said Naghmeh.

While she and her family suffer not knowing if her husband will be freed - or even survive - Naghmeh will continue to rely on her faith to get her through.

"It's hard to be hopeful sometimes with seeing lack of action and lack of promises from the Iranian government, but I'm still hopeful," said Naghmeh.

Naghmeh Abedini is continuing to get more people to join in on their cause to free her husband.

They have an online petition that has nearly 550,000 signatures from across the world.

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