Protesting American pastor Eddie Romero released

Protesting American pastor Eddie Romero released

A retired American pastor arrested on Monday for protesting outside Evin Prison has been released from custody and is set to be deported.

Eddie Romero was protesting against the detention of several Iranians Christians and a lawyer in the prison. His protest was live-streamed until he was arrested.

Pastor Romero’s daughter, Sarah, reported yesterday that he had called his wife from the Swiss embassy in Tehran and said he would return to the United States by today.

According to the report, Eddie Romero said he preferred to stay in Iran to try to draw attention to the number of Christians detained there.

She added: “You want your loved one to be well and safe and never do anything risky, but knowing my dad, we realise that he is cut out for this kind of a thing. And we support him 100 per cent.”

Sarah Yetter revealed more about the motives behind her father’s mission to Iran at a news conference published on YouTube yesterday. 

A spokesperson for the US State Department, in a brief statement, said: “We are aware of the reports that a US citizen has been detained in Iran and, due to privacy consideration, have no further comments or details this time.”

Pastor Romero recently retired from leading a church in California and now lectures in philosophy. He is also the founder of Exodus8one, a group set up to support the rights of Christians and other religious minorities around the world.

After his arrest, a pre-recorded video of Pastor Romero was released on YouTube, calling for the release of the Christian prisoners Farshid Fathi, Saeed Abedini, Mostafa Bordbar and Alireza Seyyedian, as well as the human rights lawyer Mohammad Ali Dadkhah, who had defended Christians including Yousef Nadarkhani.

In the video, the pastor said he would be proud to be imprisoned alongside such people.

Another video has been released on the Internet, which is said to show audio and video related to Mr Romero’s protest and the officers’ conversation with him. The video is not of good quality and seems to have been recorded and sent with a tool that Mr Romero had with him.

“These can be seen on the Internet, Facebook and Twitter,” he told officers in English in the video. A few minutes later, officers apparently noticed Mr Romero’s mobile device and the connection was cut off.

The Exodus8one website says the video was broadcast live on the Internet.

Shahrokh Afshar, a pastor of an Iranian church near Los Angeles, told a news conference that officers appeared to be confused about the video recording equipment Eddie Romero had, but that their attitude was respectful.

In 2008, Eddie Romero was arrested in China when calling for the release of five Christians during the Beijing Olympics. That time also he was detained for 24 hours and then deported.