Exclusive update: Naghmeh Abedini calls for prayer to support jailed Pastor Saeed Abedini as US drags feet
Pastor Saeed Abedini is an American Iranian Christian pastor jailed in Iran for being a “national security” risk, sentenced to eight years in prison. Most recently Pastor Abedini has been moved to solitary confinement, having endured incredible beatings and suffers internal damage from these punishments.
The Global Dispatch had opportunity to get an update from the Pastor’s wife, Naghmeh Abedini, on his condition and the circumstances of his case.
BRANDON JONES: Let me thank you for your time. I’ve following the plight and punishment of your husband and the suffering he and your family endures, but, for our readers, can you give us an update on how is doing, physically and spiritually.
NAGHMEH ABEDINI: He was recently put back into solitary confinement and we have gotten reports that his health is deteriorating. He is not only dealing with internal bleeding due to beatings he has received in prison, but also we have now been made aware of problems with his kidneys. He is not doing well physically, but he is standing strong on his Christian faith and continues to find Joy and Hope in the midst of this dark prison.
BBJ: A recent report stated that Iranian officials offered him a deal to renounce Jesus Christ and be set free. Can you confirm that such an offer was even made and how did Pastor Abedini respond to this offer?
NAGHMEH ABEDINI: Yes. Since his initial arrest and detainment in Evin Prison in September 2012, he was able to convey to his family (during visits and letters) that he is being put under pressure and torture to deny his faith. His family in Iran was also interrogated the first few weeks that Saeed was taken to prison and were told that if Saeed would deny his Christian faith, he would be released and returned to our family.
BBJ: Now you are are working with the ACLJ, who I assume is your liason to the US State Department and other agencies, so can you explain what the American officials have and have not done, in your opinion, to help your husband.
NAGHMEH ABEDINI: The US government was dragging its feet the first few months of Saeed’s arrest (July 28, 2012 – the date he was taken off of a bus and put under house arrest) and imprisonment (September 26, 2012). But after the congressional hearing in March 2013, they seemed to have taken more action through diplomatic efforts and through statements made by Sec. John Kerry.
I am not sure exactly what is being done to ensure my husband’s freedom (I am not told of the details), but I do hope that the US Government is doing all that they can to fight for Saeed’s religious freedom and free him from Evin prison in Iran.
BBJ: So whether we see movement by the State Department or not, what can people do to help you and your family?
NAGHMEH ABEDINI: The more awareness that is brought to Saeed’s imprisonment, the better. People can help spread the word about Saeed and continue to contact media and their governments to request for coverage on Saeed’s story. But more important and something that is most valuable for Saeed and our family is that people would pray and ask their churches to join in prayer for Saeed and our family.
BBJ: Mrs. Abedini, let me thank you for your time and your faithfulness. It’s truly a pleasure and an honor to pray for your husband and while it must be horrible to have to go through this, I know Christ has his hand in the situation.