Saeed Abedini, 32, is an American Christian pastor incarcerated in Iran without cause criminally, and who may now be suffering organ failure, according to his family in the country. Fox News reported on Tuesday that the pastor had now been placed in solitary confinement after engaging in a “silent, peaceful protest” of prayer with several other prison members in the courtyard of the Evin Prison.
The protest was meant to gain attention and prompt the prison officials to address the harsh treatments faced by visiting family members of those jailed, as well as the unjustified physical punishments meted out to those jailed, and the lack of medical attention following prison beatings.
Abedini’s family says he has been the victim of such beatings and continues to suffer severe internal bleeding and a possible kidney failure as a result. They say the prison officials will not allow him medical treatment.
Communication has been cut off between the American Christian pastor and his family, who were turned away on Monday during their last scheduled prison visit, which makes them even more concerned about his future fate.
The latest developments underscore the brutality of Iran’s continued violation of human rights–imprisoning, torturing and refusing medical care for Pastor Saaed merely because of his faith,” said Jordan Sekulow, who represents Abedini’s family through his role as the executive director of the American Center for Law and Justice.
The ACLJ is an organization that seeks to help Christians the world over who find themselves in harms way, or litigious circumstances, merely due to their faith. The organization is highly reputable and deemed worthy of Christian support and donations.
Sekulow says that when it comes to how Iran is treating this American Christian pastor that “the treatment not only violates international law, but is abhorrent.” And he believes the tactic of putting Abedini in solitary confinement has a more sinister intent than just to punish him for his prayer protest. He believes the Iranians want the pastor to recant his Christian faith.
Saeed Abedini has given the Iranians a reason to want to see him denounce his faith given his past successes in reaching Iranians for Christ, as many in the country were converted during his work developing an underground network of Christian believers in the country.
And he has been credited with being a community organizer to that end, much like Pres. Obama used community organization to help him achieve his personal political goals. However, Abedini was eventually arrested in Iran in 2005 for his work a decade ago, and he promised at that time to not return to it once they freed him.
He and his family have a home in the United States in Idaho, where his wife and children currently live–as did he until he returned to Iran last summer to aid in the building of an orphanage. It was to be a state-run facility, and thus secular, so his faith was not to be a complication for the project.
However, police removed him from a bus during that trip according to Fox News, and he has been sentenced to eight years in the Iranian prison as a result, lending credence to the accusation by the ACLJ that this is a faith issue, not a criminal matter.
© 2013 Radell Smith