An American pastor who is imprisoned in his homeland of Iran for planting house churches in the country over a decade ago has finally received medical treatment after being denied care for many months.
As previously reported, 32-year-old Saeed Abedini, who resides in Idaho with his wife Naghmeh and their two children, has been incarcerated in Iran’s notorious Evin Prison since last September for allegedly threatening the national security of Iran by planting house churches, 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.
According to reports, he has been beaten on numerous occasions by prison guards, but has been denied treatment because of his Christian faith.
“The nurse would also come to take care of us and provide us with treatment, but she said in front of others ‘in our religion we are not suppose to touch you, you are unclean. Baha’i (religion) and Christians are unclean!’” Abedini outlined in a letter this past March. “She did not treat me, and that night I could not sleep from the intense pain I had. According to the doctor’s instructions, they would not give me the pain medication that they would give other prisoners because I was unclean.”
A month later, the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), which has been representing the pastor, explained that Abedini had been taken to the hospital–but was sent back without any medical care.
“In what could only be viewed as a cruel act of psychological abuse, prison officials took Pastor Saeed to a hospital … only to be turned away, and brought him back to Evin prison without receiving medical treatment for his internal bleeding,” it 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.”
Now, four months later, the organization is reporting that Abedini finally received medical treatment this past weekend.
“Suffering from an internal injury in his stomach, Pastor Saeed has been in need of medical attention for quite some time,” it outlined in a news release this week. “On July 20, 2013, he was taken to a private hospital in Tehran for treatment and, for the first time, he was examined by a physician and prescribed medication for injuries he sustained from the beatings he endured by prison guards.”
Abedini’s wife Naghmeh said that she is encouraged by the news, but noted that there is much work left to do.
“We are pleased that Iranian authorities have taken this important step to see that Pastor Saeed is no longer denied access to necessary medical treatment,” she stated. “It is our hope that the Iranian regime will take additional steps to correct their wrongdoings by giving his case a fair and impartial review in the court of appeals, where his case is currently pending.”
In the meantime, the ACLJ and others continue to apply international pressure in an effort to obtain Abedini’s release. It also invites supporters to send the pastor a word of encouragement via SaveSaeed.org