American Pastor Saeed Abedini's health has taken a turn for the worse and he is fainting from severe amounts of pain, according to his family in Iran who were able to visit him in Evin Prison, where he is serving an eight year sentence.
"Unfortunately, we have learned that Pastor Saeed's internal injuries are causing him increased pain," the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), which represents Abedini's wife and two children in the U.S., revealed in a post on Monday.
"Pastor Saeed has been suffering from internal bleeding – the results of intense beatings he has sustained in prison for his faith."
Earlier this summer, Abedini's health was thought to be improving, with his family noting that he was in "good spirits" following his release from solitary confinement, and that some of his medical symptoms had waned.
Arrested in 2012 and later sentenced to eight years in prison supposedly for endangering national security, the Christian pastor has been beaten in jail and has been pressured to renounce his faith in Christ, though he has refused to do so. An international campaign backed by hundreds of thousands of people worldwide has called for his release, though so far Iranian authorities have refused to grant such a request.
Officials have also denied Abedini important medical care for the severe pain he has been feeling in his abdomen, causing the ACLJ to accuse the Islamic republic of "inhuman treatment of prisoners of conscience."
The pastor was finally allowed treatment at a local hospital where he was prescribed medication, but it has not been enough, and his pain has increased, the Christian law group said, revealing that on one occasion he had even fainted from "immense anguish."
"This is a disturbing turn of events. It serves as a renewed reminder of the dangerous conditions Pastor Saeed faces in one of the world's worst prisons," the ACLJ continued, and urged official to provide Abedini the important medical care that he need.
The law group pointed out that the pastor is being kept in prison because of his Christian faith, and noted that his is one of many persecution stories currently taking place in the Islamic Republic.
In a recent interview, Naghmeh Abedini, the pastor's wife, spoke out about the torture and beatings her husband has been subjected to while in prison, and announced an upcoming prayer vigil in September to mark the anniversary of his imprisonment.
"He has been dealing with a lot of pain and internal bleeding since he was taken to solitary confinement which has been horrific in itself…two times, attempts to break him and have him recant his faith. He's gone through a lot the last year," Naghmeh Abedini said.