ICC Note: For Saeed Abedini, and dozens of other Christians imprisoned in Iran, they spend day after day in prison simply because of their faith. The following is a retelling of what those days are like for Saeed who has spent more than two years in prison because he continues to profess faith in Jesus Christ.
04/29/2015 Iran (ACLJ) * The following is an expository narrative crafted from the information imprisoned American Pastor Saeed has shared with his family and descriptions publicized from released prisoners of Rajaei Shahr Prison. As Pastor Saeed’s wife Naghmeh says, “This is a day in the life of Saeed as he would tell it.”
8:00 AM I awake after another sleepless night, not knowing what the day will hold. Will another of my fellow inmates be dragged to the gallows today? Will another inmate steal my belongs? Will a guard threaten me to recant my faith and return to Islam? I start to try and prepare my mind for what strength I will need for another day, but my thoughts are interrupted as the guards come to count me. To them I am not a man but just another number. I debate whether to lay my head back down and skip the meager breakfast of bread and cheese, realizing that if I do, I will only have one other meager portion of food to sustain me for the entire day. Reality hits abruptly every morning, awakening me from my dreams of family and freedom. Sleep is incredibly alluring as it is in my sleep that I temporarily escape the reality of prison life. Sleep also helps me pass the time and to avoid tension among other prisoners. There are days where I don’t have the strength to get out of bed, but luckily today is not that day. Today, as I begin my day, I stop and pray to steady my mind and remind myself of the promises of God.
10:00 AM Today I get to take a shower. It sounds like such a simply luxury, but here with limited facilities and severe overcrowding, I count it a blessing despite the filth I stand in to clean myself. You see, there are only 3 showers for the roughly 80 prisoners in my section of the prison. Practically, this means I get to shower roughly once a week. The water is cold, but I am grateful.
11:00 AM After my shower I contemplate whether to return to my little corner in my cell or try to mingle with other prisoners. There are roughly 80 of us in my little room built for 20, but my corner is where I can pray and avoid conflict with other prisoners. For a while I was able to make paper crosses to hang by my bed, a sort of little sanctuary, but the guards have since forbidden such displays. While the day always passes faster when I have fellowship with others, doing so has gotten increasingly more difficult. There are some prisoners here who see my very presence as a threat, for I am not only a convert to Christianity but I am also an American. This tension has only grown as the United States and Iran continue to negotiate. For today, I decide to sit in my little space, alone with my thoughts.