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American Pastor Imprisoned in Iran Moved to More Dangerous Facility Described as Place Where 'One Stops to Be a Human Being

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"...the place where political prisoners who are seen as a nuisance, are stowed away."

Calvary Chapel of Boise Pastor Bob Caldwell, left, prays with Naghmeh Abedini, center, and Tiffany Barrans, with the American Center for Law and Justice Thursday, Sept. 26, 2013 on the steps of the Capitol building in Boise, Idaho. Hundreds of people gathered on the steps to pray for the safe return of Saeed Abedini, who was incarcerated in Iran one year ago for preaching Christianity. "For the people to be here and this many, is an amazing show of support from my Boise family," said Naghmeh, the wife of Saeed Abedini. (AP)

The American pastor held captive in Iran – Saeed Abedini – has been moved to a more dangerous prison and is no longer allowed to have visitors, according to the American Center for Law & Justice. The transfer happens in the midst of thawing relations between the United States and Iran.

“The ACLJ has confirmed through Pastor Saeed's family members in Iran that he has been moved from Evin Prison in Tehran to Rajai Shahr Prison in Karaj - an even more dangerous prison where he faces life-threatening conditions and treatment,” ACLJ Executive Director Jordan Sekulow said in a blog post that was sent out to the media.

Calvary Chapel of Boise Pastor Bob Caldwell, left, prays with Naghmeh Abedini, center, and Tiffany Barrans, with the American Center for Law and Justice Thursday, Sept. 26, 2013 on the steps of the Capitol building in Boise, Idaho. Hundreds of people gathered on the steps to pray for the safe return of Saeed Abedini, who was incarcerated in Iran one year ago for preaching Christianity. "For the people to be here and this many, is an amazing show of support from my Boise family," said Naghmeh, the wife of Saeed Abedini. (AP)

“A member of Pastor Saeed's family in Iran arrived at Evin Prison today for the regular weekly visit and was told that Pastor Saeed had been moved to this this prison outside of Tehran yesterday -- about an hour and a half drive away,” Sekulow said. “The family member travelled to Rajai Shahr Prison and was told that Pastor Saeed is imprisoned there and is not permitted to have any visitors.”

The transfer happens after President Obama and Iranian President Rouhani had a historic phone call to talk about dismantling Iran's nuclear program. In recent weeks, there have been loud protests – with chants of “death to America,” in opposition to the Iranian government's outreach to the United States.

“We are aware of and concerned about reports that U.S.-Iranian citizen Saeed Abedini, who was sentenced to eight years in prison in Iran on charges related to his religious beliefs, has been transferred from Evin prison to Rajai Shahr prison,” a State Department spokesperson told TheBlaze.

“We call again on Iranian authorities to permit a visit by officials of the Swiss Embassy in Tehran to determine the well-being of Mr. Abedini and of detained U.S.-Iranian citizen Amir Hekmati, who was sentenced on false espionage charges. We also repeat our call on Iran to release Mr. Abedini and Mr. Hekmati," the State Department spokesperson continued.

The ACLJ cites a 2005 comment by Dutch diplomat Loes Bijnen from the embassy in Tehran.

"Rajai Shahr is the place where political prisoners who are seen as a nuisance, are stowed away,” Bijnen said. “Going to Karaj is a severe punishment. Once in there one stops to be a human being. One is put out of sight, even of human rights activists and the press. In Rajaï Shahr, political prisoners have to share cells with dangerous criminals like murderers, rapists and drug addicts who don't hesitate to attack their cell mates. They have nothing to lose: many of them are condemned to death anyway. Murders or unexplained deaths are a regular occurrence.”

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