- (Photo: ACLJ.org)
U.S. Pastor Saeed Abedini, who is currently suffering from internal bleeding in Iranian prison, said that he is praying for America in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings that killed three people and left over 200 injured last week.
"Pastor Saeed told family members he had heard about the terrorist bombings in Boston on the prison radio, expressed his concern, and told them he is praying for the victims and their families during this very challenging time for our nation," the American Center for Law and Justice revealed on Monday.
The law group, which is representing Abedini's family back in America, noted that the pastor has been allowed a brief visit with his family in Evin Prison in Tehran, where he has been kept since his arrest in September 2012. He was sentenced in January to eight years in prison for "endangering national security," but the ACLJ says that all he was doing was building an orphanage for children in Iran.
Abedini, who became a U.S. citizen on March 11, 2010, revealed that he has been beaten severely by prison guards who want him to convert back to Islam and abandon his Christian faith. The pastor has been suffering from internal bleeding, and has been told that it would be two months before he receives proper medical care.
"I can not express in words how concerned I am about Saeed's physical and mental health," his wife, Naghmeh, has stated. "He is now continually attacked and threatened. The Iranian government should know that we are watching and aware of what they are doing to Saeed inside Evin prison. We need to speak louder until Saeed is home safely on U.S. soil."
The U.S. State Department, Secretary of State John Kerry, a number of U.S. congressmen, and the European Union have all called for the pastor's release. More than 570,000 people from around the world have also signed a petition in his support.
Abedini said that Iranian authorities believe he is engaging in a "soft war" against the regime for his Christian activities, but the ACLJ says that he has never been involved in political activities.
"His heart has been for the people of Iran, and he has always cooperated with Iranian authorities. He kept his promise to stop working with house churches and worked with Iranian authorities on a non-religious orphanage," the law group said, adding that Iran is violating his human rights for torturing and refusing him medical care because of his faith.