The Iranian-American pastor being held in Iran has now been transferred to a more dangerous prison where he faces life-threatening conditions, according to his family and attorneys.
When a member of Saeed Abedini’s family went to visit him at Evin Prison, a facility in Tehran where he has been kept for over a year, he was told that the pastor had been moved about an hour and a half away to Rajai Shahr Prison in the town of Karaj.
The family member then travelled to Rajai Shahr Prison and was told that the pastor is being kept there, but is not permitted to have any visitors, according to the American Center for Law and Justice, the pastor’s U.S.-based attorneys.
According to inside sources, this new prison in Karaj is an even more dangerous facility, where violent prisoners, typically imprisoned for murder and rape, are held.
Abedini, 33, an American citizen who lives in Boise, Idaho, with his wife and two children, has been sentenced to eight years imprisonment, following his arrest on a bus. His supporters say he has been beaten and tortured in the prison, and that he was only in Iran to try to start a secular orphanage.
The pastor’s mysterious transfer brings new concerns to his family and attorneys, who have been closely monitoring his medical and psychological condition.
President Obama called for the pastor’s release in his phone call to Iran’s new President Rouhani in September.
There has been wide bi-partisan support in the Senate and Congress for the pastor’s immediate release.
Secretary of State John Kerry also urged the Iranian regime to release him earlier this year.