The day after his wife appeared on Capitol Hill to plead for her husband’s release, Idaho pastor Saeed Abedini was viciously beaten at the Iran prison where he’s being held.
Abedini was convicted in January 2013 of establishing Christian house churches. He was seized while in the country to set up a government-sanctioned orphanage.
“It is heartbreaking to me and my family that Saeed was again beaten in prison,” his wife, Naghmeh, said in a statement through the American Center for Law & Justice. “Saeed’s life is continuously threatened not only because he is an American, but also because he is a convert from Islam to Christianity. It’s time to get Saeed home before it is too late.”
According to the ACLJ, Abedini was attacked not by guards this time but by fellow inmates as he was leaving his cell.
In addition to being punched in the face and suffering two black eyes, his attackers “demolished a small table Pastor Saeed used to study and read.”
Naghmeh hasn’t been able to speak with her husband since his conviction years ago, but the injuries were seen by a relative who visited the prison this week.
“With every beating, with every demand that he recant his faith in Christ and become Muslim or else be forced to serve even more than his 8-year sentence, Pastor Saeed’s situation becomes more dangerous,” wrote the ACLJ’s Jordan Sekulow.
Naghmeh told lawmakers last week that she fears for not only whether Saeed will be able to come home but how he’ll be after returning to his family.
“His mental condition is my biggest worry even though his physical condition is not very well,” she said, adding that the pastor has been told by his jailers “he will never come out unless he renounces his faith.” He has refused.
“Where’s the action? Where’s the result? Iran continues to shrug it off and not really respond to our discussion on the sidelines,” Naghmeh said of the administration’s assertion that it brings up the cases of the Americans on the sidelines of nuclear negotiations. “Help bring my husband home before you consent to any deal.”