An American pastor who is imprisoned in his homeland of Iran for planting house churches in the country over a decade ago reports that his health is worsening as beatings and psychological abuse intensify behind bars.
The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), which has been fighting for the the pastor’s release, issued an update on Saeed Abedini today, advising that he continues to be denied medical care for his internal bleeding, which he has experienced for several months.
“In what could only be viewed as a cruel act of psychological abuse, prison officials took Pastor Saeed to a hospital last week — only to be turned away — and brought back to Evin prison without receiving medical treatment for his internal bleeding,” the Christian legal organization stated.”Iranian officials are telling Pastor Saeed it could be an additional two months before he will receive medical treatment. Such a delay is inhumane and a gross violation of Iran’s international obligations.”
In the meantime, Abedini says that his captors and cellmates have upped the ante on their threats and torture.
“Pastor Saeed reported today that last week he was severely beaten the same day the prison officials took him to the hospital,” the ACLJ reports. “During the weekly prison visit today, Pastor Saeed’s family reported that his physical condition is worsening — seeing first-hand the marks and symptoms left by the recent beating. These beatings and the internal injuries are causing Pastor Saeed frequent fainting spells.”
“Pastor Saeed reported that cellmates, who appear to have connections to the Iranian intelligence police, recently threatened they would suffocate Pastor Saeed in his sleep, making his death look like an accident,” it continued. “The daily threat that his life could be taken by his internal injuries or by the hands of cellmates, weighs heavily on Pastor Saeed.”
Abedini’s wife Negmeh says that she is extremely fearful for her husband’s life.
“I can not express in words how concerned I am about Saeed’s physical and mental health,” Naghmeh said. “He is now continually attacked and threatened. The Iranian government should know that we are watching and aware of what they are doing to Saeed inside Evin prison. We need to speak louder until Saeed is home safely on US soil.”
As previously reported, 32-year-old Abedini, who resides in Idaho with Negmeh and their two children, has been incarcerated in Iran’s notorious Evin Prison since late September for allegedly threatening the national security of Iran by planting house churches in the country a decade ago, and for attempting to turn youth in the nation away from Islam and toward Christianity. He had traveled to Iran to build an orphanage last fall, and was about to return to the states when he was taken into custody.
While his wife continues to plead for the U.S. government to put pressure on Iran to free her husband, the ACLJ is asking for Christians around the world to send a note of encouragement to Abedini while he is incarcerated.
“We must let him know that we will never forget him and will never stop working for his release,” it urges.
Information on the Save Saeed campaign may be found at savesaeed.org.