It began last week. American Pastor Saeed Abedini, who is serving an eight-year prison term in Iran because of his Christian faith, has been suffering from internal bleeding for months - injuries received from the beatings in prison. 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.
Now, comes word out of Iran, that the beatings and physical abuse are intensifying. Pastor Saeed reported today that last week he was severely beaten the same day the prison officials took him to the hospital. 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. 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 addition to refusing to give Pastor Saeed the medical care he needs, it now appears authorities are stepping up their physical abuse and psychological torture. 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. The daily threat that his life could be taken by his internal injuries or by the hands of cellmates, weighs heavily on Pastor Saeed.
These troubling developments are of grave concern to Pastor Saeed's wife, Naghmeh, who lives with their two children in the U.S.
"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."
That is exactly what we are doing at the ACLJ. In addition to working here at home and around the world to secure his freedom, we are publicizing his story – putting a global media spotlight on his plight – applying international pressure to Iran. The truth is the world is watching and rejects the continued abuse and torture of Pastor Saeed, a U.S. citizen.
Pastor Saeed has spoken often about the beatings and abuse he suffers at the hands of his captors. In a recent letter from his prison cell, Pastor Saeed wrote that he cannot even recognize himself after all the beatings and torture he has endured: “My hair was shaven, under my eyes were swollen three times what they should have been, my face was swollen, and my beard had grown.”
Prison officials want one thing: Pastor Saeed to recant his faith in Christ. And, while they continue to try and get him to do that, Pastor Saeed’s faith remains strong - a faith that is clearly keeping him alive.
We ask that you continue to pray for Pastor Saeed. At the same time, thanks to the more than 33,000 people who have already sent letters of support to Pastor Saeed. If you haven't done so yet, please take a moment and craft a letter of prayer and support for this hostage in Iran. You can send a letter by going to SaveSaeed.org.