6/2 in D.C.: Family Members of U.S. Captives in Iran Plead with Congress for Their Release

As Nuclear Deal Approaches, Wife of American Pastor Saeed Abedini to Testify in Support of Resolution Demanding His Freedom

Naghmeh Abedini—wife of Saeed Abedini, the American pastor jailed in Iran—will appear before the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs on Tuesday, alongside family members of three other Americans imprisoned or missing in Iran. In addition to Abedini, the panel of witnesses includes Sarah Hekmati, sister of former U.S. Marine Amir Hekmati; Ali Rezaian, brother of Washington Post journalist Jason Rezaian; and Daniel Levinson, son of retired FBI agent Robert Levinson.

Immediately following the hearing, the committee will vote on H.Res. 233, calling on Iran to immediately release the three imprisoned U.S. citizens and provide information on any American citizens who have disappeared within its borders. The resolution is similar to a Senate resolution that passed unanimously earlier this month in the midst of ongoing negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program.

In January 2013, Saeed Abedini, a U.S. citizen, was sentenced to eight years in prison because of his Christian faith—a detention the United Nations and U.S. State Department have blasted as arbitrary and illegal. Abedini’s plight remains urgent as he faces physical abuse, malnourishment, death threats, and psychological abuse from Iranian guards and fellow inmates.

WHEN: June 2, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. ET

WHERE: 2172 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, DC 20515

BACKGROUND INFORMATION FOR MEDIA: View a timeline of Abedini's story, downloadable photos and b-roll.

INTERVIEW OPPORTUNITIES: (Available on-site at hearing, in-studio in D.C., or remote via phone or Skype) Naghmeh Abedini, Pastor Saeed’s wife, and Tiffany Barrans, international legal director of the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), the human-rights law firm representing the Abedini family and advocating for Pastor Saeed’s release.

MEDIA CONTACTS: Alison Geist, Chandler Epp or Anna Hutsell: 770.813.0000 office. Alison Geist is the on-site contact at the hearing in D.C.: 404.277.4557 mobile.

MEDIA NOTE: Only congressionally credentialed members of the media will be allowed access to the press viewing area in the committee hearing room and must RSVP to the appropriate press gallery by 5 p.m. Monday, June 1. Gallery contact information: House Radio/TV Gallery: 202.225.5214; House Periodical Gallery: 202.225.2941; House Daily Press Gallery: 202.225.3945; Photographer Gallery: 202.224.6548.