Thursday, April 18, 2013

Beatings Intensify: American Pastor's Condition Worsens in Iranian Prison

By Jeremy Reynalds
Senior Correspondent for ASSIST News Service

WASHINGTON D.C. (ANS) -- American Pastor Saeed Abedini, who is serving an eight-year prison term in Iran because of his Christian faith, has been suffering from internal bleeding for months - injuries received from beatings in prison.

Saeed Abedini (via ACLJ).
A story by Jordan Sekulow for the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), said "In what could only be viewed as a cruel act of psychological abuse," 
prison officials took Pastor Saeed to a hospital last week - only to be turned away - and brought back to Evin prison without receiving medical treatment for his internal bleeding.

The ACLJ said that the beatings and physical abuse are intensifying. Abedini reported that last week he was severely beaten the same day the prison officials took him to the hospital.

During the weekly prison visit, Abedini's family reported that his physical condition is worsening - seeing first-hand the marks and symptoms left by the recent beating. These beatings and the internal injuries are causing him frequent fainting spells.

The ACLJ said Iranian officials are telling Abedini it could be an additional two months before he will receive medical treatment. The ACLJ said, "Such a delay is inhumane and a gross violation of Iran's international obligations."

The ACLJ said in addition to refusing to give Abedini necessary medical care, it now appears authorities are stepping up their physical abuse and psychological torture.

Abedini said that cell mates, "who appear to have connections to the Iranian intelligence police," recently threatened they would suffocate him in his sleep, making his death look like an accident. The ACLJ said the daily threat that his life could be taken by his internal injuries or by the hands of cell mates, weighs heavily on Abedini.
The ACLJ said these issues developments are a huge concern to Abedini's wife, Naghmeh, who lives with their two children in the U.S.

"I cannot express in words how concerned I am about Saeed's physical and mental health," the ACLJ reported Naghmeh said.

She added, "He is now continually attacked and threatened. The Iranian government should know that we are watching and aware of what they are doing to Saeed inside Evin prison. We need to speak louder until Saeed is home safely on US soil."

The ACLJ said that Abedini has spoken often about the beatings and abuse he has suffered at the hands of his captors.

In a recent letter from his prison cell, the ACLJ said Abedini wrote that he cannot even recognize himself after all the beatings and torture he has endured. He wrote, "My hair was shaven, under my eyes were swollen three times what they should have been, my face was swollen, and my beard had grown."

The ACLJ said prison officials want Abedini to to recant his faith in Christ. However, his faith remains strong.
The ACLJ said, "We ask that you continue to pray for Pastor Saeed. At the same time, thanks to the more than 33,000 people who have already sent letters of support to Pastor Saeed. If you haven't done so yet, please take a moment and craft a letter of prayer and support for this hostage in Iran. You can send a letter by going"

The ACLJ represents Abedini's wife, Naghmeh and their two young children.

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