Washington D.C., Jul 24, 2013 / 08:00 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Iranian-American pastor Saeed Abedini, who has been imprisoned in Iran for over 300 days, has at last received long-awaited medical care after suffering numerous beatings in captivity.
“Thank you to all of the individuals who have prayed, written letters, signed petitions, called government officials, run benefit races, tweeted, and shared Saeed’s story,” said the pastor’s wife, Naghmeh Abedini, in a press release.
“Thank you to all the government officials from around the world who have stood for my husband. Iran has listened to your pleas.”
Pastor Saeed is an Iranian-born United States citizen, and is currently serving an eight-year sentence in Evin Prison in Iran on charges of threatening national security for earlier pastoral work in Iran. Human rights organizations and Christian activists, however, have contended that he is being held because of his Christian beliefs.
Abedini, who was raised Muslim, converted to Christianity in 2000, and, after his marriage to Naghmeh, an American citizen, gained U.S. citizenship in 2010.
Previously, Abedini worked with house churches throughout Iran until he stopped his work with religious organizations in the country at the government’s request. Since 2009, Pastor Saeed has worked exclusively with non-religious orphanages in the country. He was arrested in the fall of 2012 during a visit to one of these orphanages.
While in prison, Abedini has suffered beatings, and sustained a number of internal and external injuries. He has been sent to the hospital on two occasions, however on both visits, he returned to prison with no treatment for his injuries.
According to the American Center for Law and Justice, which represents his wife, Abedini was taken to a hospital again on July 20, and “for the first time, he was examined by a physician and prescribed medication for injuries he sustained from the beatings he endured by prison guards.”
“While I am encouraged that Saeed is finally getting medical care, the fight is not yet over,” said Naghmeh Abedini of her husband’s treatment.
“It has been a difficult 300 days – 300 days of torment simply because Saeed loves Jesus Christ. I am hopeful Iran will do the just and honorable thing and release Saeed.”