American pastor Saeed Abedini, a U.S. citizen has been imprisoned in Iran for his Christian faith, since September 2012. Practically without representation, the Iranian government sentenced Pastor Saeed to eight years in prison after convicting him of “undermining” the government by spreading his religious beliefs.
Saeed had previously worked with house churches in Iran. In a previous detainment, the Iranian government had Pastor Saeed sign a document promising he would not proselytize. He claims he has upheld his side of the bargain. Having a heart for orphans, in 2012 he was visiting family and organizing board members for a government approved orphanage that he was starting for Iranian children regardless of their faith.
Pastor Saeed has endured psychological/physical torture, because he will not deny his Christian faith. These beatings have caused him to suffer internal bleeding, while medical care was withheld for months. The treatment he finally did receive has been very minimal.
In an upsetting development in November, he was transferred from Evin Prison, a facility for political prisoners, to Rajai Shahr Prison, the deadliest prison in Iran. And being held in a violent criminal ward, where hardened prisoners had unfettered access to him. His health has also been deteriorating. He is experiencing increased pain in his stomach as he is being denied necessary medication and treatment. He is malnourished, losing weight and covered in lice, due of the horrific prison conditions. He has also been threatened at knifepoint and robbed of the few basic hygiene items he had, while in this ward.
Pastor Saeed has now been moved from the murderer ward to the political prisoner ward in Rajai Shahr Prison.
Make no mistake; Pastor Saeed is still in the deadliest prison in Iran facing deteriorating medical conditions. This is the first positive step, however slight, since his transfer from Evin Prison last November.
For the first time in six weeks, Pastor Saeed’s Iranian family was able to visit with Pastor Saeed on January 22 in his new prison ward. No reason was given for the move and his family reports that this new ward, still within the dangerous walls of Rajai Shahr, represents a slight improvement in his treatment. Pastor Saeed is now receiving better meals.
His family reports that Pastor Saeed’s medical problems continue to worsen. He continues throwing up on a regular basis and is still experiencing significant pain in his abdomen. Since being moved within the prison, Pastor Saeed was able to see a prison doctor who was very concerned about his internal injuries. The prison doctor recommended that he receive surgery and provided him medication to ease his pain.
Those injuries have gone largely untreated, and when Pastor Saeed was transferred to Rajai Shahr, Iranian authorities refused to give him the medication he had been prescribed. Though Saeed was provided pain medication recently, Saeed has still been denied the medication that was previously prescribed for his internal injuries.
Since recently meeting with the prison doctor in Rajai Shahr, Pastor Saeed has not yet received the needed surgery. Pastor Saeed’s family has formally petitioned the Iranian government to allow Pastor Saeed to receive this critically necessary surgery at a private Hospital.
Despite his move from the worst-of-the-worst ward in the prison, he still faces grave danger, significant medical issues, and life-threatening prison conditions.
Even in this new prison ward, numerous prisoners are complaining that prison conditions are making them sick. Since Saeed’s move, the regime has canceled or closed many of the recreational facilities, even the library, that had been available to political prisoners. The authorities have place two violent prisoners in the political prisoner ward who consistently threaten any semblance of peace. These violent prisoners have already robbed several of the prisoners in the political prisoner ward.
Pastor Saeed’s wife, Naghmeh, responded to this latest development saying:
There is a glimmer of comfort to know that my husband has been transferred out of the murderers’ ward, but my heart aches to know the pain he continually suffers and that his injuries necessitate surgery. As a family, it is difficult to be so far away and unable to comfort him in his pain. Though we are encouraged by the transfer to the new ward, such a small step is far from an unconditional release where Saeed is reunited with our family. While this development is welcomed, we desperately await his return home.
It is devastating that Pastor Saeed’s release was not procured by the U.S. Administration during agreement talks with Iran. Until he is back home with his family, the American people and many others from around the world will not forget him, or give up in their demands for his release!
It is hard to imagine what Saeed must be going through as he suffers in chains for Christ. It is painful to think about the grief his wife and two young children are experiencing in his absence. They too have been forced to share in the suffering of persecution.
Now that he has been moved to the political prisoner ward in Rajai Shahr Prison. We can pray they will have… a change of heart and allow him to receive mail. This will be an ongoing campaign until he is released!
JOIN with us to let him & Iran know he WILL NOT be forgotten! With Christ & our prayers, he is NEVER alone.
We encourage you to write a personal letter of encouragement to Pastor Saeed. You can personalize a card or letter by sending a family photo. Younger children may participate by sending a drawing, encouraging him in this time of trial. Most likely the guards will read these cards and letters. Include in your message, the love Jesus has for us and the ultimate gift of sacrifice that Christ gave for all people. Sharing this with them may be the first and only time they will get to read about what Christ has done for them. Pray the Lord touches their hearts! (many Iranians speak and read English.)
PLEASE SHARE THIS WITH YOUR FAMILY, FRIENDS, PASTORS/CHURCHES, MINISTRY GROUPS, ORGANIZATIONS, CLUBS, COMMUNITY AND SOCIAL MEDIA SITES, SUCH AS FACEBOOK AND TWITTER.
Share often, motivate others to care, you CAN make a difference in this world! Help us spread this mission around the world to start sending love and light to our brother Saeed and the nation of Iran!
INSTRUCTIONS BELOW MUST BE FOLLOWED TO PROTECT PASTOR SAEED
When writing your cards or letters, please do not state anything negative about the Iranian government. Do not mention any foreign organization, or church that is supporting the efforts to free Christian prisoners. While it is safe for prisoners to receive encouraging letters, naming an organization or church, or criticizing the Iranian government could potentially place Pastor Saeed in more harm. Please do not do anything to make matters any worse for him.
Send your cards and letters to:
Rajaei-Shahr Prison Moazzen Blvd
Karaj, Islamic Republic of Iran
P.O. Box: 31485–498