Christians around the world have been praying for a Christian pastor imprisoned in Iran, after reports leaked that he has been tortured in jail and could face further fake charges. Pastor Saeed Abedini has been in prison for three years, serving an eight-year sentence for his involvement in Iran’s house church movement.
According to Christian advocacy organisation Release International, the US-Iranian Saeed, who comes from a Muslim background, has been credited with establishing scores of house churches in cities across Iran.
Saeed’s wife, Naghmeh Abedini, was able to visit her husband in Rajai Shahr Prison near Karaj in September, and reported that Iranian intelligence officers repeatedly used taser electric shock guns on Mr Abedini.
Mrs Abedini says he was tortured during an interrogation session on Tuesday and is in need of medical treatment. Speaking to Release mission partners, she said, ‘Saeed is not a criminal. Being a Christian and motivated by Christian values to help the poorest and most needy children in Iran should be seen as good for the Iranian society.
‘Hearing that, yet again, the hardliners in Iran are trying to fabricate evidence against my husband and that he was abused and being tasered is almost too much to bear’.
The pastor has been charged with ‘undermining national security’ and told that he could face new charges, alleging he has connections with groups opposed to the government. Medical staff have withheld treatment from him, because as an ‘infidel’ he is considered to be unclean.
He has also been threatened with death by prisoners who are members of Islamic State and al-Qaeda, and told he can only be set free if he recants his faith.
Paul Robinson, chief executive of Release International, said, ‘Please pray that the government of Iran will show clemency to Pastor Saeed and release him. Pray that President Hassan Rouhani will heed calls for greater religious freedom in his nation, and pray for the release of all those who are imprisoned for their faith in Iran’.