ICC Note: The physical condition of Pastor Saeed Abedini, an American citizen imprisoned for his Christian faith in Iran, is worsening amid continued beatings from prison guards, the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran (ICHRI) reports. In this article, ICHRI interview Abedini’s wife Naghmeh about her husband’s ill-treatment in prison.
4/23/2013 Iran (ICHRI) – Christian pastor Saeed Abedini was conducting a routine visit to the non-profit orphanage his family helped to start in Rasht when Iranian security forces arrested him and seized his passport in July 2012. Five months later, Iranian courts convicted him of “undermining national security,” accusing him and other Christian converts of waging a “soft war” against the Iranian government through their practice of Christianity in informal house churches.
Saeed Abedini’s wife Naghmeh spoke with the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran in an interview about her husband’s ill-treatment in prison, the so-called “soft war” he and other Christians are accused of waging, and religious freedom in Iran.
“They had arrested him in 2009 because of work he had done [as a Christian pastor] from 2000 to 2005, but they’d let him go because he was no longer involved with house churches,” Naghmeh Abedini told the Campaign. “They had let him go in 2009 promising that they would not do anything against him . . . if he did humanitarian efforts like orphanages,” she added. Three years later, Revolutionary Guards seized him during a trip he took to visit the orphanage and took him to Evin Prison.
Between July and December 2012, Iranian authorities continually told Saeed Abedini’s family not to get him a lawyer nor to speak to the media about his situation, alternately threatening the family and promising his swift release. The family received news that he had been brutally beaten in prison September 2012, and hired a lawyer in December. His conviction came in January 2013, and his family is currently awaiting the appeals court decision from Branch 36.
“In early March , Saeed was examined by doctors in prison, and they did confirm that Saeed needed to be hospitalized for his internal bleeding,” resulting from his time in prison, Naghmeh Abedini said. On April 15, “he was taken early in the morning to the hospital, they said there was no doctor, and sometime in that day he was beaten” again, she added.