16 January 2016: Release of Pastor Saeed Abedini (IRAN)
Saeed Abedini, a U.S. citizen sentenced to 8 years in prison in 2013, was released on 16 January 2016. His release was part of a prisoner exchange between the U.S. and Iran. Four Americans were released in exchange for six Iranians.
Abedini had been sentenced to eight years in prison for endangering national security by aiding underground Evangelical churches. On 25th August 2014, his appeal for a reduction of his sentence was rejected. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani had previously said that Abedini would not be released until 19 Iranian prisoners held in the U.S. were granted their freedom.
HRWF, together with other NGOs, had campaigned for his release by:
• regularly informing the U.S. State institutions, members of the European Parliament and Parliaments of EU member states about his case
• keeping him on HRWF’s Prisoners’ List (p 56)