Naghmeh Abedini, the wife of imprisoned American pastor Saeed Abedini, has revealed that many of the updates from Iran on her husband's condition over the past three years have been coming from the pastor's parents. Naghmeh said that the trauma Abedini is going through is taking a toll on them.
"Though I am always looking forward to visitation days as my lone connection to Saeed, it pains me to know what my in-laws have lived through with their son. They live for these 15-minute visitations each week with their son, but watching your son endure the trauma of unjust imprisonment is brutal," Naghmeh said in an update earlier this week posted on the American Center for Law and Justice website.
"Increasingly, my updates from Iran come with many tears. The pain of seeing your son shackled, describing the pains in his body or the beatings he endures has at times been too much for his elderly parents. Today's update was told through uncontrollable tears. Having seen the pain of my own children, I can only imagine the pain Saeed's parents have endured the last three years," she continued.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has warned that Abedini will not be released until 19 Iranian prisoners held in the U.S. are granted their freedom.
Naghmeh, who along with the ACLJ has been campaigning for Abedini's release, said that it's unjust for Iran to hold the pastor as "collateral."
"My husband is not collateral. He is a father and a man who broke no law. Yet Iran is treating him like a pawn in a game of chess. President Rouhani's demand that America release 19 criminals in exchange for his consideration of releasing individuals like my husband, imprisoned solely for his faith, demonstrates that the Iran of today is no different than the Iran who took Americans hostage during the Iranian revolution," she said in a statement following Rouhani's suggestion.
The pastor has served three years of an eight year sentence in Iran. While the Islamic Republic has said that he has endangered national security, the ACLJ has argued that he is being punished for his Christian faith.
Naghmeh recently also said that Abedini is suffering heavily due to not being able to see his two young children grow up.
The American pastor missed out on his daughter Rebekka's ninth birthday, and has only been able to see his children through photos.
"It was too painful for him to see pictures of how much his baby girl had grown up since he last saw her, from the 5-year-old little girl to the 9-year-old young lady she has become. A different kind of maturity covered his baby girl's face. A maturity that spoke of painful, tear-stained nights," Naghmeh wrote.