Americans Held in Iran Focus of Congressional Hearing
Families of Imprisoned Americans Speak Out
The wrongful detention of American prisoners in Iran was the topic of a House hearing held Tuesday by the House Foreign Affairs Committee. U.S. Rep. Chris Smith (NJ-04), chairman of the committee’s global human rights subcommittee said he is concerned about fate of all the Americans imprisoned in Iran—including Pastor Saeed Abedini, Robert Levinson, Amir Hekmati, and Jason Rezian, whose family members testified on Capitol Hill today.
“I continue to be concerned about the safety and health of these prisoners, who are being held in some of Iran’s harshest, most violent prisons. They languish there in part because Iran’s judicial system lacks consistent independence, fair public trials, due process, privacy for an accused, and is rife with interference from government and religious officials,” said Smith who chaired a February 26th joint hearing entitled The Shame of Iranian Human Rights. “That is why so many of us in the House have called on Iran to ‘release all detained United States citizens immediately and provide any information it possesses regarding any United States citizens that have disappeared within its borders,’ as we have in House Resolution 233.
“Indeed, many of us are asking why wasn’t release of all Americans held by Iran made a precondition for any negotiations with Iran in the first place,” Smith said. Click here to read Chairman Smith’s statement.
The witnesses at the joint congressional hearing, entitled “Americans Detained in Iran,” were: