Imprisoned American Pastor Saeed Abedini Moved to Less-Dangerous Ward

Saturday, 25 Jan 2014 03:30 PM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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Image: Imprisoned American Pastor Saeed Abedini Moved to Less-Dangerous Ward
Naghmeh Abedini, wife of Pastor Saeed Abedini, holds up a photo of her children as she testifies before the House Foreign Affairs Committee Dec. 12, 2013 in Washington, D.C.(Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Iranian-American pastor Saeed Abedini, who remains imprisoned in Iran "deadliest prison" for practicing Christianity, has been moved from a dangerous murderers' ward into a section reserved for political prisoners.

Abedini, 33, has been moved to the less-dangerous section of Rajai Shahr Prison in Karaq, Iran, where he has served one year of an eight-year prison sentence, reports Fox News.  The prison houses the country's most violent offenders.

"Make no mistake, Pastor Saeed is still in the deadliest prison in Iran facing deteriorating medical conditions," the American Center for Law and Justice said on its website.

The move means that Abedini's family has been able to visit him for the first time in weeks, and he is receiving better meals. However, the center report said that part of the political prisoner ward's recreational facility has been closed since Abedini's transfer.

Meanwhile, Abedini's family informed that he is suffering severe abdominal pain and that an Iranian doctor has said he needs surgery to treat internal injuries he received from beatings while in custody.

"There is a glimmer of comfort to know that my husband has been transferred out of the murderers' ward, but my heart aches to know the pain he continually suffers and that his injuries necessitate surgery," his wife, Naghmeh Abedini, told the ACLJ.

There has been wide bipartisan support for Abedini, including a call from President Barack Obama to Iranian President Hasan Rouhani in September. Lawmakers are also calling for the pastor's immediate release, and Secretary of State John Kerry pushed the Rouhani regime to release Abedini earlier this month.

But the ACLJ complained the Obama administration failed Abedini by not asking for his release when coming to its recent nuclear disarmament deal with Iran.

"We not only lost a critical opportunity for his freedom but effectively insulated Iran from ever feeling the need to free this U.S. citizen," the ACLJ said on its site. "His freedom has not been a top priority for Obama administration and the U.S. State Department. We continue to believe that renewed economic sanctions on Iran may now be the best chance we have to bring Iran back to the negotiating table."

Abedini was granted U.S. citizenship in 2010 and had been living with his wife in Boise, Idaho, before the trip to Iran, during which he was seized.

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