Jailed pastor in Iran told to deny Christ or face longer prison

April 18, 2013 by  
Filed under newsletter-world

Saeed Abedini has been subjected to repeated beatingsIran, April 17, 2013: Saeed Abedini, a pastor jailed for eight years in Iran, has been threatened: return to Islam or you will not be released – even after your sentence has been served.

The Iranian-American has been detained since his arrest last September. He was convicted and sentenced in January for planting house churches “intended to undermine national security”.

While Saeed has been detained in the notorious Evin Prison in Tehran, he has been subjected to threats, torture and beatings, which have caused him to suffer internal bleeding.

The pastor has written a number of letters from his prison cell that have been made public by the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), which is campaigning for his release. In a letter released last week, Saeed wrote that prison officials have been threatening him:

“Deny your faith in Jesus Christ and return to Islam or else you will not be released from prison. We will make sure you are kept here even after your eight-year sentence is finished.”

My response to them is Romans 8:35-39. The reality of Christian living is that difficulties or problems do arise in our lives. Persecution and difficulties are not new occurrences, but are seen often in the Christian life. It is through the suffering and tribulations that we are to enter the Kingdom of God.

The ACLJ reported this week that Saeed had suffered another severe beating, which has left him with further internal injuries; he is experiencing frequent fainting spells as a result. Ironically, the beating took place when prison officials took him to hospital last week. He was previously denied medical care following a beating that left parts of his face badly swollen.

In addition to threats and violence from the prison guards, Saeed said that his cellmates have been threatening to suffocate him in his sleep and make it look like an accident.

His wife Naghmeh said:

I cannot express in words how concerned I am about Saeed’s physical and mental health. He is now continually attacked and threatened.

The US government is pushing Iran to release the pastor, who is an American citizen. Secretary of State John Kerry said last month:

I am disturbed by reports that Mr Abedini has suffered physical and psychological abuse in prison, and that his condition has become increasingly dire. Such mistreatment violates international norms as well as Iran’s own laws.

– barnabas team

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