Kerry calls for ‘immediate’ release of Iran detained Christian Saeed Abedini
HRANA News Agency – Secretary of State John Kerry, in a first-ever statement from his office on the case of imprisoned Iranian-American Saeed Abedini, called Friday for Abedini to be “immediately released” and said he is “disturbed” by reports that he’s suffered physical and psychological abuse at the Iranian prison where he’s being held.
The statement was released by Kerry late Friday afternoon, and it came after the attorneys representing Abedini’s family released a letter the Christian pastor sent to his wife describing how he was beaten and denied medical treatment because he was seen as “unclean” because of his faith.
Kerry’s call for the pastor’s release marks the first such formal statement on the case. The full statement from Kerry read as follows:
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Office of the Spokesperson
For Immediate Release March 22, 2013
STATEMENT BY SECRETARY KERRY
Detained U.S. Citizen Saeed Abedini
I am deeply concerned about the fate of U.S citizen Saeed Abedini, who has been detained for nearly six months and was sentenced to eight years in prison in Iran on charges related to his religious beliefs. I am disturbed by reports that Mr. Abedini has suffered physical and psychological abuse in prison, and that his condition has become increasingly dire. Such mistreatment violates international norms as well as Iran’s own laws.
I am also troubled by the lack of due process in Mr. Abedini’s case and Iran’s continued refusal to allow consular access by Swiss authorities, the U.S. protecting power in Iran. I welcome reports that Mr. Abedini was examined by a physician and expect Iranian authorities to honor their commitment to allow Mr. Abedini to receive treatment for these injuries from a specialist outside the prison. The best outcome for Mr. Abedini is that he be immediately released.