Naghmeh Abedini, the wife of American pastor Saeed Abedini, has spoken out about the torture and beatings her husband has been subjected to while in prison in Tehran, Iran, and announced an upcoming prayer vigil in September to mark the anniversary of his imprisonment.
"There are now 44 cities in the U.S. that have gotten permits and are on board for doing the prayer vigil on September 26, which is the one year anniversary of Saeed's imprisonment in Evin (Prison). Different cities are holding it at different times, but most cities are holding it at noon their time in front of courthouses, city halls, or their state capitol building," Abedini said in an interview with The Global Dispatch over the weekend.
Her husband, Pastor Saeed Abedini, was arrested in the summer 2012 while working on an orphanage in Iran. He was later sentenced to eight years in prison, supposedly for "endangering national security," though groups like the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), which represents Abedini's wife and two children in the U.S., have said that the imprisonment has more to do with the pastor's Christian faith.
In Evin Prison, Saeed Abedini has been beaten and denied the proper medical care that he needs. His wife recalled some of the details behind this treatment, saying:
"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 shared that when his family in Iran was allowed to visit him in prison for the first time last November, they could see clear signs of the beatings, including kicks to his stomach area, which is when the internal bleeding he has been suffering from started.
Since then, the U.S pastor has shown some improvement in his medical condition, but the ACLJ has said that he still needs treatment for his abdomen, which the Iranian regime has not provided.
"Iran's willful denial of his basic medical care is a reflection of its inhuman treatment of prisoners of conscience," the ACLJ wrote in June.
Thousand of Christians around the world have petitioned for the pastor's release, and some major Christian leaders, including Franklin Graham, president and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan's Purse, have urged the U.S. government to do more to help Abedini.
"She's also discouraged by the fact that our own government seems to have abandoned them. President Obama has been silent on the issue as an American Christian endures the horrors of Evin Prison," Graham said of the worries Naghmeh Abedini faces.
The prayer vigil on Sept. 26 aims to be a major event to bring together the body of Christ and help the imprisoned pastor.
"We know God is mighty to save, and will deliver Saeed just as he did Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, Daniel, David, Esther, Peter, Paul, Silas and countless others," reads a post on the Facebook page for the event. It also shares with readers Philippians 4:6-7 as found in the Bible, which goes:
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."