Written by Heather Clark
KARAJ, Iran — An American pastor imprisoned in Iran reportedly continues to be abused behind bars as he was recently the target of a raid by prison guards.
“Human Right Activists News Agency Iran reported on Wednesday that Pastor Saeed [Abedini]’s condition in Rajai Shahr prison was very worrisome and that on August 6th, prison guards raided Pastor Saeed’s prison cell again,” the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) outlines. “The news agency reports that Saeed was the sole target of the raid and that the guards’ actions toward Pastor Saeed were dishonorable and harsh.”
The organization, which has been fighting for Abedini’s release for nearly the past three years, also says that the Iranian government has not allowed the pastor to speak to his wife and children via telephone.
As previously reported, Abedini, a former Iranian Muslim turned Christian, left Iran in 2005 and moved to the United States with his wife and two children to find religious freedom after facing conflict with authorities for planting house churches in the county. In 2012, he traveled back to Iran to build an orphanage and visit his parents—and was about to return to the states—when he was taken into custody.
He has reportedly experienced numerous brutal beatings behind bars from both the prison guards and his fellow cell mates.
Abedini’s wife, Naghmeh, has been working diligently to urge both American and international government leaders to push for the pastor’s release. Last week, after learning that her husband had been the target of a prison raid, she remarked on Facebook that the battle has been an emotional roller coaster.
“It has been very emotional knowing the condition that Saeed continues to face each day in prison. The ups and downs over the years have been quite difficult,” she wrote. “I can’t give up on this battle to free my husband from the Iranian prison and in the process I can see how the Lord is refining me.”
Abedini is expected to speak before the United Nations in New York next month.
The ACLJ continues to urge the U.S. government to remember Abedini and other Americans imprisoned in Iran as it deliberates its dealings with the country.
“As members of Congress are currently contemplating whether to approve or reject the Iranian nuclear deal, they must also be cognizant of the Americans being held hostage and targeted in Iranian prisons,” it wrote in an update on Friday. “Pastor Saeed is anything but political. Yet the Iranian regime continues to hold this innocent man hostage. We must send a message to Iran that Iran must immediately release Pastor Saeed and the other imprisoned Americans.”