American Pastor Saeed Abedini Speaks of His Imprisonment in Iran: ‘They Beat Me Very Badly’

Abedini Screenshot-compressedASHEVILLE, North Carolina — An American pastor who was imprisoned in Iran for over three years is now speaking about his time behind bars, acknowledging that he and others were beaten by Iranian authorities.

“In interrogation, once they beat me very badly,” Saeed Abedini told Fox’s Greta Van Susteren on Monday, “because they wanted me to write something [to admit guilt], which I didn’t do that.”

“It actually was in a courtroom where the judge closed the door and the interrogators started beating me, which in that time, I had stomach bleeding,” he said.

“They beat you with their fist?” Van Susteren asked.

“Yes,” Abedini replied.

He said that he was soon threatened that he was going to be placed with other prisoners who would “beat him to death.” Abedini stated he was indeed beaten badly by his cellmates, but “God saved me over there.” At one point, he was even beaten in the head with a heavy iron chair, the pastor shared.

Abedini said that Iranian authorities adiditionally tried to intimidate him by stating that they would track him after he is released.

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“They said, ‘When you finish your sentence, and you go to the U.S., we always follow you, and if you continue the thing that you did, we’re going to kill you,'” he explained, noting that Iran had killed another pastor.

Abedini said that when he was first arrested and brought before the judge, he was accused of conspiring to take down the Iranian government with Christianity. He tried to explain that he was not seeking to do so, but was merely helping orphaned children and sharing the gospel, but his response was not received.

“The judge said, ‘You know why you are here,’ and I said, ‘Yeah, I’m here because of my Christian faith and starting house churches all over Iran,” Abedini recalled. “And the judge said, ‘No, you are not here for this. You are here because you want to use Christianity to remove government.'”

“And it was like, ‘No, I don’t want to do that. I just came here to start [an] orphanage, loving people and [to] share the gospel with people and just that,'” Abedini recalled. “And he said, ‘No, you guys are using Christianity to remove the government.'”

When he said the would pray for the magistrate, the judge began yelling. He spent two months in solitary confinement, part of the time with his eyes covered, before being moved to more dangerous locations.

Abedini told Van Susteren that he witnessed others being beaten behind bars and observed the guards taking prisoners to be hanged each Wednesday.

“They were scared, and so the soldiers would take their hands, their feet [and] grab them like when they take a lamb for the slaughtering,” he remembered. “It was very graphic things, what I saw when they took people for execution.”

As previously reported, Abedini, a former Iranian Muslim turned Christian, left Iran in 2005 and moved to the United States with his wife and two children to find religious freedom after facing conflict with authorities for planting house churches in the county. In 2012, he traveled back to Iran to build an orphanage and visit his parents when he was taken into custody.

He was sentenced to eight years in Iran’s notorious Evin Prison, but was transferred to to Rajai Shahr Prison in 2013, where he remained until two weeks ago when he was set free in a prisoner swap between the U.S. and Iran.


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  • amhater

    …and the liberals don’t want to offend as they head off to buy their expensive coffee…..

  • jael2

    There is a key piece that is missing here…..Abedini was thrown into the cell with former marine Hekmati, and they spent sixty days together. When Hekmati was interviewed while still in Germany, he talked about being blessed, and he said being released was like “being born again”. That is no talk from a Muslim. Could it be that Hekmati was born again in prison? Let it be so, Lord!

    • KELLY

      For the record, we capitalize Marine. BIG SMILE

      • jael2

        You are correct….and also I should never have stated “former” Marine. Once a Marine, always a Marine.

  • Guest

    His wife, who refused counsel from Franklin Graham, has filed for divorce.

    • Peter Leh

      Domestic Relation is not in and of itself a divorce.

      • Guest

        Lawyers have told the press that this is the groundwork for a divorce. She’s had this planned for awhile. I hope she’s not using money from donors to pay for this.

        • Peter Leh

          True. However, at this point she has not filed for divorce. She is advocating saving her marriage, protecting herself and her children from an abusive man.

          • Guest

            You are speculating that he is abusive based upon the words of a woman who has not spoken the truth. The man has been brutalized in prison for his faith, and she concocted a story that doesn’t hold water. May God have mercy on her. I know He will help Saeed.

          • Peter Leh

            I have a tendency not to blame the victim or protect the perp, yes.

            Those who do are just as dangerous, imo. 🙂

          • Guest

            You’ve already assumed he is abusive even though there is no proof. There is proof, however, that Naghmeh’s statements don’t add up. For example, Saeed couldn’t have been “abusing” her while he was in solitary confinement suffering from internal injuries.

          • Peter Leh

            Abuse can physical, emotional and psychological. She also noted theses abuses have been going on from the beginning of their marriage.

            “Those troubles include “physical, emotional, psychological, and sexual
            abuse (through Saeed’s addiction to pornography),” she wrote. The abuse
            started early in their marriage and has worsened during Saeed’s
            imprisonment, she said. The two are able to speak by phone and Skype.”

            but i am open to “his side of the story”… which he does not deny

          • Guest

            He didn’t have the phone or Skype while in solitary confinement. He was suffering from internal injuries from beatings and other abuses. The woman is clearly playing fast and loose with the truth.

          • Peter Leh

            she said imprisonment not solitary.

          • Guest

            Yes, but we already know where he was when. She obviously doesn’t because she wasn’t keeping in touch with him.

  • KELLY

    What the Muzzies don’t comprehend is that those of us who are Christians & die for our Faith, will go to the “front of the line” to Heaven! BIG SMILE

    But then, we shouldn’t be surprised by what anything Muslims say or do since Islam is Satanism.

  • mattmessner

    Christianity is in more danger than ever before. GOD SAVE US

    • wsnell

      No, methinks Iran is in more danger than ever before. And, yes, Jesus will remove the government in Iran.

      • 2Contend…

        Yes. And somehow they know that.

  • andrewwhitehead

    Gosh, they treated him and the others so well…I can see why Obama forced them to take the 150 Billions and sign a deal that gives Iran everything and the world nothing. Such great guys running Iran!

  • Rationalist

    Don’t forget, folks…our so-called “Christian” president knew about this for years – the ONLY reason this pastor was freed was because of the treaty with Iran.

    Three indisputable facts:

    1 – Obama has publicly said “the Muslim call to prayer is “one of the prettiest sounds on Earth.”

    2 – the Koran commands “Cut off their heads, and cut off the tips of their fingers” (Sura 8:12).

    3 – Obama really IS a muslim…

    • Peter Leh

      he is the only muslim i know that drinks beer and eats pork.

  • KeysBarnes

    Our Muslim-in-Chief Obama will do nothing about this. Anytime a Muslim kills or beats a Christian, the Muslim terrorist sympathizer in the WH smiles and sleeps better at night. A real president (hopefully we will have one in a year), who has integrity and honor, would hunt these Satan controlled Iranians down and then shoot them like rabid dogs. That’s the only thing these insane people understand.

    • http://latitudinarismus.blogspot.com/ Timothy McPherson

      He eats bacon, goes to Church, and drinks beer. Doesn’t sound like any Muslim I know.

      • Guest

        Muslims terrorists do those same things. The Muslims who committed the 9/11 atrocities went out drinking and to a strip club prior to their attacks.

        • http://latitudinarismus.blogspot.com/ Timothy McPherson

          That’s a non-sequitur. It has nothing to do with Obama or the topic at hand. Nice try.

          • Guest

            Islam is a hypocritical religion. I can name plenty of Muslims who eat bacon, drink beer, and even attend church.

    • lorasinger

      Consider first, Keys, that it was us, under Bush, who invaded their country and other countries with a view to regime change – replacing either the elected head of a country or a dictator with a dictator more friendly to our resource gathering interests. Over a million people died directly or indirectly as a result so they hate us. They didn’t come here to take our resources – we went there. They want all of us out. They link white with Christian and they attack us when we are other there. You suggest shooting them down. Haven’t we done enough damage? I think it’s time to get out of there and leave them to their squabbles and battles, to take care of their own affairs. We’re bankrupting ourselves fighting endless wars that, in the end, solve nothing.

  • HardCorePress

    Wait wait but Islam is a religion of peace…..

    • lorasinger

      Like Christianity is a religion of peace?

      • HardCorePress

        It is! What lies do you have to the contrary….? Let me guess your excuses are the Crusades over 1000 years ago.

        • lorasinger

          I see my post was removed. Good old censorship of the kind that brought Christianity to the top of the heap to start with, that and murder. I’m talking about the entire 2000 years, right from the get go to the present time and the over 100,000 arrests and convictions for violence on the part of the “peaceful” people.

          • HardCorePress

            You’re babbling like a typical liberal. Accusation atop accusations but not a damn shred of evidence to prove your claims. BIGOTRY, HATRED AND RACISM the only three words a liberal knows. You have one thing right Lora is everyone wants to censor the Christians. Silence them at all costs. You’re a typical free speech for me but not for thee liberal whiner.

          • lorasinger

            Victims of the Christian Faith – online.
            NAF statistics graph.
            Southern Poverty Law Society.
            Beyond Belief: 2000 years of bad faith in the Christian church.
            .
            Fundamentalist Christians feel free to overstep their bounds, HC, as with this missionary who felt he could sneak into another country, break its laws and come away with it scott free, simply because he was a Christian. If he can’t follow its laws, then he pays the price. I don’t feel at all sorry.
            .
            Your idea of freedom of religion is for YOUR brand and none others and your penchant for death threats is a given. Fortunately, thinkers like you are a cult minority and the mainstream people are reasonable and normal.
            .
            The kind of babble that you’re spewing in even just this post is what is turning people off the church and followers who are like you. The numbers of people you’ve turned off doubles at an ever increasing rate and it’s no wonder.

          • HardCorePress

            OMG quit with your liberal bellyaching. You are afraid of the Muslim hordes and hope to appease them by persecuting Christians. The problem you have is the Muslims will behead your butt regardless. More lies as usual especially if you believe the Southern Poverty Law Society. You are a moron and have no objective morality I can see. But alas God’s laws are higher than our laws, suck it up buttercup.

          • lorasinger

            The “Muslim hoardes” are a scare tactic to herd you sheep together as a voting block for the GOP. In fact, we created them by our length and frequent invasions into their territory, killing over a million of them. They want us out. PERIOD. There is more to be feared from the Dominionist hoardes of fundie Christians and their intent on driving us into a theocracy.
            .
            Which god, HC? The one indivisible god with no kid of the Jews or the three headed god of the Christians. God’s laws indeed. Galatians has already directed that if Christians attempt to live under the laws of the old covenant, they are cutting themselves off from Christ, which tosses them out of the Christian body as well. Make up your mind.
            ..
            Do you even realize just how typical it is for fundamentalists to name call and apply verbal abuse just as you’re doing – foul mouthed and name calling.
            .
            Muslims break our laws every day? Try looking up actual stats. In this country, its over 300 events by Christian fundamentalists versus 9 by muslims for 2015.

  • Peter Leh

    www. christianitytoday. com/ct/2015/november-web-only/pastor-saeed-abedini-wife-naghmeh-halts-public-advocacy.html

    “Pastor Saeed Abedini’s Wife Halts Public Advocacy, Citing Marital Woes and Abuse”

    • Guest

      This story has too many discrepancies to be true.

      • Peter Leh

        Talk to CT.

        • Guest

          Why would I talk to “CT” when I know this information firsthand?

          • Peter Leh

            CT is reporting falsehoods you personally know. Seems like the logical first step in your accusation of discrepancies.

          • Guest

            Reading comprehension much? There is much more to this case than what is being reported and only the gullible believe Naghmeh’s stories.

          • Peter Leh

            I dunno. we shall see, eh?

          • Guest

            Perhaps you shall see. I already see the obvious.

      • http://latitudinarismus.blogspot.com/ Timothy McPherson

        Check out Nagmeh Abedini’s Facebook post. It states it very clearly that she is seeking legal protection so that her children are not removed from Idaho and thatbefore his imprisonment she had been the victim of emotional and physical abuse.

        • Guest

          That’s not what the legal documents show, and it’s also not a real threat that Saeed would remove the children anywhere. She’s making lots of claims and the motives may not be entirely pure. I, for one, would like to know what happened to all the donor money. How did she go from being destitute to being able to afford an expensive divorce lawyer?

          • http://latitudinarismus.blogspot.com/ Timothy McPherson

            It’s never good to doubt a victim of spousal abuse. According to Nagmeh, there were incidents in the past when the authorities had to be called for

            Domestic violence incidents.

            Why are you concerned about her spending money on a lawyer to protect herself and her children?

          • Guest

            You are assuming she is a victim of spousal abuse. She’s had so many discrepancies in her story that she cannot be believed. She is doing real disservice to genuine victims of spousal abuse. She is just as bad, or worse, as the Iranian prison guards.

          • http://latitudinarismus.blogspot.com/ Timothy McPherson

            Assumption has nothing to do with it. She has provided the records from the police. It’s attitudes like yours that blame the victim and never the person who did it. As long as that concept prevails, more spouses will be assaulted because their victims are not believed.

          • Guest

            What records did she supposedly give to the police? You do know that anyone can file a report for anything, right?

          • lorasinger

            What did she stand to gain from falsifying a police report?

          • Guest

            Please specify what you mean by falsifying a police report. I want to be very clear here.

          • lorasinger

            I guess I should have written “What did she stand to benefit by submitting a false report? ” She must know that it would be opening herself up to charges of anything from public mischief, to making a false declaration and right up to defamation of character and more.
            .

            Quote: “Defamation of character occurs when someone makes a false statement about you that causes you some type of harm. The statement must be published (meaning some third party must have heard it), false, and it must result in harm, usually to the reputation.

            .
            Remember, that sympathy is on his side.

          • Guest

            Are you referring to the 2007 report or recent allegations? I disagree with you that support is on Saeed’s side. You should check our Franklin Graham’s page. Saeed is now getting death threats and ministries are being smeared as well.

          • lorasinger

            Franklin Graham? That figures. Fundies are either issuing or complaining of death threats because that is the track their mind travels.

          • Guest

            It was atheists and people like you were making the threats, but thanks for playing the game, Lora.

          • lorasinger

            That is the very thing I’m trying to tell you. When fundamentalists get ticked, they are very prone to make death threats FIRST, right after the threats of damnation and hell fire. It’s the only ammunition they’ve got. Atheists rarely make death threats but the fundies don’t get that difference and assume they do it too, Franklin Graham not being an exception. Besides, not believing the man god story doesn’t make one an atheist, unless you count Jews and Muslims as being atheists too.

          • Guest

            Well, that went right over your head – whoosh! It was people like YOU who made the death threats.

          • lorasinger

            It didn’t go over my head at all, Guest. I think it’s a fabrication on the part of Franklin Graham because to him, anybody is who isn’t a fundie is an atheist. It’s just another example of fundie-speak. Do you, or does he actually even know what an atheist is? Anybody issuing a death threat isn’t doing it on behalf of atheism or because he is an atheist.

          • Guest

            Uh, you can read the comments yourself and see whose Facebook they belong to. They belong to people like you.

          • lorasinger

            How do you KNOW they were atheists? How do you KNOW what I am? Foolish wonder.

          • Guest

            You don’t know how Facebook works, huh, Lora? 🙂

          • lorasinger

            Not all that well, but I DO know who fundies work – censorship, and lying to cover it up.

          • Guest

            You don’t know your right hand from your left. 🙂

          • lorasinger

            Running out of ammunition?

          • Guest

            No, I’m just laughing too hard to type anything else. 🙂 Have a great day, lorasinger. 🙂

  • jael2

    There is an update on CT.
    This is just heartbreaking. I pray that true repentance, restoration and healing for all parties involved will happen soon. Lord have mercy on this family!

    • Guest

      There is so much more to this story, and it will come out. Please don’t be quick to assume the things Naghmeh is claiming are true.

  • Joseph Clem

    An interesting comment from someone who lives in Boise. Yes, something really doesn’t smell right! “I live in Boise – here’s the inside scoop. This woman is a fraud and so is her husband. Mr. Abedini is no Christian, but an opportunist who utilized Christianity to enter the US via some Christian charity organization, as many foreigners do. He converted to Christianity to obtain US citizenship, then over night became a pastor for some loopy church. During his short time in the United States, HE NEVER WORKED. In his 2nd year in the US he decided to play James Bond/007 in Iran, traveling there to encourage Muslims to denounce their religion and convert to Christianity. (Can you imagine the opposite happening here?) He knew full well that this was illegal in Iran, but did it anyway and got in trouble … duh. He willingly put himself in harm’s way, created an international incident, and burdened the US government and taxpayers with the responsibility to get him home.

    Naghmeh exploited her husband’s imprisonment to create a fabulous and exciting life of world travel, speaking engagements and media attention for herself (with local media routinely giving air time to this narcissist). Her Facebook page is a shrine to herself, filled with cheesecake photos and selfies (she has a signature pursed-lip pose down pat). She threw Saeed under the bus in early November telling friends that he was addicted to porn and that he had abused her most of their marriage. It was not her intention for this to go public, but it did, and she took some heat for the allegations. Saeed got word of it and, she said herself, he was “devastated.” She’s been back peddling ever since.

    She also used her husband’s plight for purely partisan political purposes, traveling to meet up and have her photo taken with Donald Trump, Jeb Bush, Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, and others, and to appear on Faux News and other media to make disparaging remarks about the president.

    These two frauds need to be run out of town on a rail – after they reimburse the taxpayers for the money it took to get Saeed home after his little charade.”

  • lorasinger

    He was there to preach and for no other reason. Without that, and the backing of the missionary group at home, he never would have been there. It’s illegal to preach in Iran and he knew that. I don’t feel sorry for him getting beaten by other prisoners. I wonder how a Muslim missionary who came here for the express purpose of converting us, would do in one of our prisons, especially among fundamentalists.

    • Guest

      We already have Muslim missionaries in western prisoners who are there to convert. Who do you think converted Malcolm X? How about the many modern day converts to Islam? Muslim missionaries are quite successful at it. No one beats them down. They’re hailed as heroes.

      Saeed was kidnapped and taken hostage. He started an orphanage. That was his big crime. Do you really think orphanages are a punishable offense?

      • lorasinger

        Ask yourself if Saeed would even have been there, starting anything at all, if the primary directive wasn’t to prosyletize. Orphanages are the cover and the money isn’t coming from the churches to start with. On the average, churches spend about 1% of their tithe take for the common good (According to the Evangelical Credit Union). The rest is for the upkeep of the church. The money is raised from followers and is above tithing for missionary funds.

        • Guest

          You are making a lot of assumptions and posing false scenarios. I know underground workers who worked with Saeed. His actions there were above board. Also, Jesus Christ also did things that were considered unlawful in the world’s eyes. So did the apostles Paul, John, Peter, etc. What’s your point? You don’t feel sorry for Saeed, that’s fine, but don’t pretend you don’t have double standards. Why don’t you rally US prisons to allow US prisoners to beat and torture Muslim missionaries, seeing you profess to be against ALL missionaries and think they should be beat up (using your logic and all).

          • lorasinger

            Ah, yes ” I know underground workers who worked with Saeed.” Well that tells it all, doesn’t it?.
            .
            You have no idea what the man, Jesus did. He was dead for 30 years before Paul invented the man god who is in your bible. The apostles would have done anything practicing Jews did as the “party of the circumcision, under the law”, a sub sect of Judaism preaching to Jews. The Jesus of the bible did and said anything his gentile Pauline converts dreamed up for him.
            .
            In prisons here, prisoners beat each other all the time, and they kill each other too. Most of them are Christians. In fact 90% of prisons are filled with Christians. So what?
            .
            Your point is that a Christian MISSIONARY is above the law of the country when he sneaks into another country under the cover of doing aid, specifically to peach and should be afforded privilege. I say “NO”. Simple.

          • Guest

            I knew you had issues, but this takes the cake. 🙂 Have a great day fighting those windmills, Lora.

          • lorasinger

            Pretty weak comeback, G.

          • Guest

            Thanks for proving you got nothing.