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Saeed Abedini released in US prisoner swap

Saeed Abedini released in US prisoner swap

Saeed Abedini has been released after three and a half years in prison, as part of a prisoner swap with the United States.

Saeed was released alongside three fellow Iranian-Americans, Khosravi-Roodsari, Amir Hekmati and Jason Rezaian.

Tehran prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi confirmed the news, saying: “In line with ratifications of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council and the Islamic establishment’s general expediencies, four Iranian prisoners, who hold dual nationality, have been released within the framework of a prisoner swap.”

The release of the four prisoners of conscience coincides with the implementation of the nuclear deal between Iran and the United Nations Security Council, of which the US is a member. 

Saeed was serving an eight-year prison sentence for “setting up house churches in order to disturb the security of the country” and “collusion”. He said that during his interrogations he’d also been threatened with death.

He was arrested in October 2012 while on a visit from his home in America to Iran, where he was seeking to establish an orphanage.

He was sentenced by Branch 26 of the Islamic Revolutionary Court in Tehran in January 2013, under Judge Pir-Abassi. His appeal was later rejected by Branch 36 of the Court of Appeals in Tehran.

Saeed, who is 34 years old, has been suffering from urinary tract and kidney disease. He began his sentence in Tehran’s Evin Prison, but was later transferred to Rajaee Shahr Prison in Karaj.

His wife, Naghmeh, has spoken out against the mistreatment of her husband in prison, saying he has been repeatedly beaten during interrogations and that he suffered internal bleeding but was denied treatment.

Iran is 9th on the Open Doors’ World Watch List of the 50 countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian. Converts continue to be arrested and given prison sentences simply as a result of their religious activities. There are currently at least 103 Christians in prison in Iran.