Thursday, May 2, 2013

American Pastor Saeed Abedini Thrown into Solitary Confinement in Iran; Health Deteriorating

By Jeremy Reynalds
Senior Correspondent for ASSIST News Service

WASHINGTON D.C. (ANS) -- Already badly weakened by months of beatings and torture that have resulted in internal bleeding, American Pastor Saeed Abedini, a U.S. citizen, is facing perhaps his most difficult challenge since his imprisonment last fall.

Saeed Abedini
According to a story by Jordan Sekulow for the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), family members in Iran confirm that Abedini, along with nine other prisoners, has been placed in solitary confinement.

The ACLJ said new reports indicate that in addition to the severe internal bleeding he is experiencing, which has gone untreated, he is now facing issues with his kidneys.

The ACLJ said it has confirmed that awful conditions in Evin Prison led Abedini and a number of prisoners in Ward 350 to sign a letter expressing to prison officials their concern about the lack of medical care received, and the threats and harsh treatment facing family members who come to visit. 

The prisoners expressed their dissatisfaction in a peaceful, silent protest in an outside courtyard at the prison.

The ACLJ said that apparently prompted prison officials to retaliate, selecting ten of the prisoners and placing them in solitary confinement. The ACLJ said its sources indicate that Abedini is likely to be beaten again, in pr ivate, away from other witnesses and prisoners.

At the same time, the ACLJ said, there's concern that his kidneys are no longer operating properly, the result of the internal injuries he has received over many months. Abedini has been told not to expect medical treatment or care for many months.

When family members showed up at prison to visit Abedini, the ACLJ said they were turned away and told he is no longer permitted to have visitors.

This latest development is causing enormous concern to Abedini's wife Naghmeh.

"Saeed has internal bleeding and now issues with his kidneys because of the beatings," the ACLJ reported Naghmeh said. "We believe that he is being beaten in solitary confinement. We have no way of finding out about his health. There will be no more visitations allowed and we will have no way of knowing how Saeed is doing."

She added, "Saeed had previously told his family that when he was in solitary confinement in the past, that was the hardest time in his life.. That every hour was lik e one year and that he was losing his memory and his health was deteriorating quickly. Please pray for his health and healing. Pray for his release. Pray that the Lord would use this for His glory and salvation of many."

The ACLJ said it spoke with a former Iranian political prisoner, who spent 15 years in Iranian prisons, including some time at Evin, about Abedini's solitary confinement.

He told the ACLJ, "Saeed was most likely on a list of prisoners the prison wants to break."

He explained that the prison officials keep a list of prisoners who have stood their ground refusing to recant their faith or confess to their crimes.

"Prison officers use any prison resistance, regardless of whether the prisoner was involved in the resistance, to target and break those prisoners on their list," the ACLJ reported he said. "They took Saeed to solitary confinement to put pressure on his belief and faith. This shows that Saeed has stood strong for his faith."

The ACLJ commented, "The latest developments un derscore the brutality of Iran's continued violation of human rights - imprisoning, torturing, and refusing medical care for Pastor Saeed merely because of his faith. This treatment not only violates international law, but is abhorrent."

The ACLJ said Abedini will be 33 on May 7.

The ACLJ said more than 42,000 people already have sent Abedini a birthday greeting - letters the ACLJ said it is personally delivering to Evin Prison.

The ACLJ commented, "Letters of prayer, support and encouragement. They are needed now more than ever. Please take a moment, if you haven't done so already, and send a letter to Pastor Saeed today."

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