Iranian authorities have posed U.S. Pastor Saeed Abedini with an ultimatum to deny Christ, or spend more time in prison.
"Deny your faith in Jesus Christ and return to Islam or else you will not be released from prison. We will make sure you are kept here even after your 8 year sentence is finished," the authorities said, according to a letter by Abedini that was recently obtained by the American Center for Law and Justice.
The pastor, who was sentenced to eight years in January in what the law group says was a "sham trial" that targeted him for his Christian faith, had earlier shared of some of the abuse he faced in prison in a letter to his wife, Naghmeh Abedini, and their two children. He has stated that he will not abandon Christ in the face of such persecution. But the newly released letter reveals the specific threats the authorities have made against him in Evin Prison in Tehran. more >>
Naghmeh, the wife of American Pastor Saeed Abedini, who is imprisoned in Iran because of his Christian faith, said she is "very encouraged" by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's public statement calling for her husband's "immediate" release.
"I am very encouraged by Secretary Kerry's statement demanding Saeed's immediate release," said Naghmeh in a statement released by the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) on Friday, which is representing the pastor's family in the U.S.
"I am very happy to read that although Secretary Kerry has asked for medical treatment for Saeed, he does not stop there, and states that the best outcome is Saeed's immediate release," she said. "I hope to see more proactive actions from our government. Saeed and I are both proud to be Americans. I am hopeful that this will put more pressure on the Iranian government to act and free Saeed so he can return to our family in the United States." more >>
American pastor Saeed Abedini has sent a troubling letter to his wife, Naghmeh, detailing the beatings and harsh treatment he has been experiencing in Evin Prison in Tehran, Iran.
"My hair was shaven, under my eyes were swollen three times what they should have been, my face was swollen, and my beard had grown," pastor Abedini wrote in a letter obtained by the American Center for Law and Justice, which has been campaigning for his release.
The troubling letter reveals that although Iranian authorities had promised him medical treatment, he has not received it, and in fact has been denied proper care because of his faith. more >>
Naghmeh, the wife of U.S. Pastor Saeed Abedini, who is serving eight years in a deadly prison in Iran for his faith, broke down as she testified on Capitol Hill, saying she has no heart to tell their kids that daddy might never survive if the government fails to protect him.
"Saeed is a husband and amazing father," Naghmeh told a standing-room only crowd at the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission of the U.S. Congress on Friday. "The kids and I miss him terribly. Our kids hold onto the hope of seeing their daddy very soon," she said, struggling unsuccessfully to hold back her tears.
Pastor Abedini and Naghmeh have two kids, Rebekka Grace, 6, and Jacob Cyrus, 4. "A day does not go by that they do not ask for their daddy. A day does not go by that they do not long for him. Most nights they cry themselves to sleep, wanting daddy home." more >>
Five Christians in Iran arrested for "endangering national security" by evangelizing and spreading their faith have been handed exorbitant bail terms, a persecution watchdog group said.
"CSW is concerned that the Iranian authorities continue to characterize legitimate religious activities as crimes against the state," revealed Andrew Johnston, advocacy director at Christian Solidarity Worldwide in a statement.
The five men – Mohammad Roghangir, Surush Saraie, Eskandar Rezaie, Shahin Lahooti and Massoud Rezaie – all members of the Church of Iran, were arrested on Oct. 12 last year during an evening raid at a house prayer service in Shiraz. more >>
Amid reports that Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani may have been hanged by Iranian authorities for his faith, a U.K.-based rights group said Friday sources inside Iran have confirmed that he is still alive.
Pictures purporting to show a man being hanged are being attributed as evidence of the pastor's death but the man in the photos is not Pastor Nadarkhani, Christian Solidarity Worldwide noted Friday.
Even as reports that the 34-year-old pastor had been hanged re-emerged Friday, CSW said in a statement that its sources inside Iran have confirmed Nadarkhani is still alive. The rumor initially surfaced last week. more >>