Naghmeh Abedini testifies before Congress, ‘bring Saeed home’ and her kids ‘want Daddy home’
Pastor Saeed Abedini’s wife, Naghmeh, testified before Congress Thursday calling for Congress to make the release of Saeed a priority.
Saeed has been detained and jailed for over a year, beaten and tortured, and most recently, moved to a prison holding murderers and rapists.
“After he endured more than a year in one of the world’s worst prisons, Evin Prison in Tehran, on Nov. 3, 2013, the Iranian regime transferred my husband to Iran’s most deadly prison, Rajaï Shahr. The Iranian regime sends prisoners to Rajaï Shahr to disappear. It sends prisoners to Rajaï Shahr to deny them their human rights. It sends prisoners to Rajaï Shahr to die.
“While he was in Evin Prison, I feared for his life because he was brutally beaten by guards and interrogators, which resulted in internal injuries. But at least in Evin Prison he was in a ward with fellow prisoners of conscience. When Iranian officials transferred him to Rajaï Shahr, he was surrounded by some of Iran’s most violent criminals, rapists and murderers.
“Since he arrived at Rajaï Shahr, he has been repeatedly threatened and robbed at knifepoint. At times he has awoken to find a knife-wielding prisoner standing over him at his bed.
“Prisoners have murdered other prisoners while prison officials stood by and did nothing. In that place, nothing but the hand of God keeps him from being killed. Each day he remains in that dreadful place could mean a death sentence; any day could be execution day.”
ACLJ is assisting the Abedini’s and Jordan Sekulow was right beside Naghmeh during the hearing and released this detailed account of her statement.
“As Christmas quickly approaches,” she said, “it is just another painful reminder of life without Saeed for our family. When I ask my children what they want for Christmas, their answer is simple. It’s the same thing they wanted for their birthdays this year. It’s the same thing they want every day. They just want Daddy. They want Daddy home. They want Daddy to be able to tuck them into bed, to sing them a song, to hold them in his embrace.
“Most nights they cry themselves to sleep, wanting Daddy home. I have not had the heart to tell them of the eight-year sentence. I am hoping that I will not have to tell them of the eight-year sentence. I am hoping that we can bring Saeed home soon.
“If we don’t do everything within our power as a nation to bring him home now, I fear he will be left to die. I fear my children will never see their father again.”
Naghmeh turned her attention to raising awareness of the widespread persecution of Christians globally.
“It is unfortunate that Christians are the No. 1 persecuted people in the world,” she said, “but not much attention and effort is taken to protect their religious liberty.
“I am standing here before you today because religious persecution is real. And until we stand up as one—as Americans, as political leaders and government officials, as people who have been endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights—we will not truly embrace the responsibility that comes with that freedom.”
You can read the entire prepared statement as submitted to Congress here.
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