The wife of Iranian-American Pastor Saeed Abedini tearfully testified before a congressional human rights panel Friday regarding the plight of her husband, who is being tortured in an Iranian prison for his faith.
Naghmeh Abedini expressed disappointment that the U.S. government has not done more to secure her husband's freedom.
"I must say I am disappointed in our government, that the president and the State Department have not fully engaged in this situation," she testified before the Human Rights Commission House Committee on Foreign Affairs Friday.
Naghmeh Abedini and the ACLJ's Jordan Sekulow appeared on CBN Newswatch March 15 to talk about what actions can the U.S. government can take to help free Pastor Saeed and what the Church can do for his family.
- You can sign the American Center for Law and Justice's petition to free Saeed here.
She noted that while "not all Americans are Christians," all Americans wanted to be assured that their government will defend them from being persecuted for their beliefs.
“Saeed is a husband and amazing father,” she told the commission. “The kids and I miss him terribly. Our kids hold onto the hope of seeing their daddy very soon."
"The truth is we do not know if we will ever speak to him or see him again," she added. "Every day is a death sentence for him."
The State Department declined to testify at Friday's hearing, something American Center for Law and Justice Chief Counsel Jordan Sekulow called an effort by the Obama administration to "cover its tracks."
“The fact that the State Department refused to send a representative to this hearing underscores the lack of concern and engagement by the Obama Administration in securing the freedom of a U.S. citizen,” Sekulow said.
Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., agreed, saying, "The very fact that the United States government is not speaking out sends a very powerful message."
Friday's hearing follows a call Monday by the U.N. Human Rights Council for Iran to release "prisoners of conscience," mentioning Pastor Saeed by name.
Meanwhile, the ACLJ has filed a petition with the U.N. Human Rights Council for Abedini's release. Several members of Congress have also urged the State Department to press for the American pastor's freedom.
"We have seen tremendous support from more than 100 members of Congress who understand the growing problem of religious persecution and have called for the release of American Pastor Saeed Abedini," Sekulow said in a March 12 press release.
"This hearing represents a significant opportunity to elevate Pastor Saeed's plight and to encourage our State Department and White House to engage this case at the highest levels," he continued.
"We're grateful for the opportunity to present Pastor Saeed's case and stand up for the human rights and religious freedom of those who are facing similar situations because of their faith," he concluded.