Jailed American Pastor Writes of ‘Horrific,’ ‘Unbearable’ Conditions in Iranian Prison

Matt Cover | February 22, 2013 | 3:32pm EST
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Iranian-born American pastor Saeed Abedini has been imprisoned in Tehran since September, and in a letter to his family reported beatings and death threats. (Image: ACLJ)

(CNSNews.com) – Imprisoned American pastor Saeed Abedini wrote of what he called “horrific” and “unbearable” conditions in the Iranian prison where he is held after being convicted in January for being a Christian.

“They are trying to put me under such horrific pressures (that are sometimes unbearable) so that they can show me that my faith is empty and not real,” Saeed wrote in a letter obtained by the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ).

Saeed wrote that his Iranian jailors subjected him to “psychological warfare” and that one of his guards had “attacked me” while he was singing worship songs in his cell. He also wrote that “my body does not have the strength to walk” due to the conditions of his imprisonment.

Saeed is in Iran’s Evin prison, sentenced there by Iranian Judge Pir-Abassi, whom ACLJ says is known as the “hanging judge, serving an eight-year term for threatening the national security of Iran by leading Christian services in Iranian households.

Saeed and his Iranian lawyers were allowed to attend only one day of his trial, according to the ACLJ, which represents his wife and children still in the United States.

Secretary of State John Kerry. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)

This is the first letter the 32-yeard-old Saeed has written since his imprisonment began in January. The pastor writes of enduring “physical violence, actions committed to humiliate me, insults,” and “being confronted [by] extremists in the prison who create another prison within the prison walls, and death threats.”

His wife, Naghmeh, said in a statement released by the ACLJ: “The most important thing we can do is pray, continue to raise awareness of his case and continue to work for his freedom.”

Jordan Sekulow, executive director of the ACLJ, said in a press release accompanying the letter that the account of Pastor Saeed underscores the need for the U.S. government to do “all that can be done” to secure his freedom.

“The letter also underscores the need to move quickly. A U.S. citizen is in failing health from beatings and abuse – a menacing scenario that should command the full attention and engagement of the U.S. government. It’s our hope that Secretary Kerry will act without delay – doing all that can be done by the State Department to save this U.S. citizen.”

The ACLJ told CNSNews.com that the letter was released to family in Iran and was then sent to Saeed’s wife, who provided a typed copy of the missive to the ACLJ.

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