KARAJ, Iran — An American pastor imprisoned in Iran was interrogated, abused and threatened with new criminal charges on Wednesday, according to a new report.
The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), which has been fighting for the release of Saeed Abedini, states that Iranian intelligence officers questioned the pastor yesterday and were both verbally and physically abusive in the process.
“During the course of interrogation, the officers repeatedly used a taser gun on Pastor Saeed,” the organization reported on Wednesday. “This new assault is concerning as Pastor Saeed is still being denied needed medical care for injuries sustained as a result of beatings in the past.”
The ACLJ also outlined that officers threatened Abedini with new criminal charges.
“They claimed Pastor Saeed has connections with anti-government groups and has made statements and taken actions against the government of Iran,” it said. “Pastor Saeed denied all of these allegations, and once again asserted that he is apolitical and that he has never threatened the security of, made any statements against, or taken any action against the Government of Iran.”
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—and was about to return to the states—when he was taken into custody.
Abedini was later charged with threatening the national security of Iran, and for attempting to turn youth in the nation away from Islam and toward Christianity. He was then sentenced to eight years in Iran’s notorious Evin Prison, but was transferred to to Rajai Shahr Prison in 2013, which was believed to pose an even greater threat to Abedini’s health and safety.
He has reportedly experienced numerous brutal beatings behind bars from both the prison guards and his fellow cell mates.
Abedini’s wife Naghmeh, who remains in America with the couple’s children, expressed sorrow over the report that her husband was once again abused and threatened by the Iranian government.
“When will this nightmare end? Saeed is not a criminal,” she said in a statement released by the ACLJ. “Being a Christian and motivated by Christian values to help the poorest and most needy children in Iran should be seen as good for the Iranian society. Hearing that yet again the hardliners in Iran are trying to fabricate evidence against my husband and that he was abused and tasered is almost too much to bear.”
Abedini called for international leaders to put pressure on Iran to release her husband.
“It is time for governments all over the world shift their focus to the injustices of the Iranian Government and call on the Government of Iran to free my husband,” she declared. “Whether we operate in the field of business, government, or simply are members of human society, we must expect and demand more of our leaders.”
Saturday marks three years that the pastor has spent behind bars.