This post is a reprint of an article first posted at https://aclj.org/iran/pastor-saeed-writes-psychological-warfare-physical-violence-death-threats-iranian-prison . Follow this link to see video coverage. Please join in prayers for Pastor Saeed and sign the petition for his release.
Earlier this week, American Pastor Saeed Abedini was able to write a letter to his wife and supporters detailing the horrific conditions he suffers in Iran’s brutal Evin Prison.
Pastor Saeed has now been imprisoned in Iran nearly five months. He describes how the “the psychological warfare, a year of not seeing my family, physical violence, actions committed to humiliate me, insults, being mocked,” extremists and other bullying groups in Evin “create another prison within the prison walls.”
In his last public letter, before his conviction, Pastor Saeed wrote that he was told he “will hang” for his faith. Today, he says that he still faces “death threats” in prison.
For the first time, Pastor Saeed acknowledges that the beatings and torture are designed to get him to recant his Christian faith – something he says he will never do. “They are only waiting for one thing…for me to deny Christ,” he wrote. “But they will never get this from me.”
In one instance, a fellow cellmate “attacked” him because he was singing praise songs.
As Pastor Saeed writes, “It is during these harsh conditions, that I deeply need God’s Saving Grace so that I can be the fragrant scent of Christ in the dark house of Evin prison.”
These are the conditions he will face every day for the next eight years of his prison sentence. Pastor Saeed, a U.S. citizen, is being forced to undergo some of the most horrific conditions imaginable.
Upon receiving this heartbreaking letter, Pastor Saeed’s wife, Naghmeh, told us:
It is heart wrenching to hear of Saeed’s continued abuse and torture in the Iranian prison. We have known for some time that he is facing physical and psychological abuse. Now our worst fears have been confirmed. He continues to face life-threatening abuse at the hands of the Iranian officials simply because of his faith in Jesus. These are the dreadful conditions he will continue to face as he serves his lengthy prison sentence in Iran. Saeed is an American citizen who is being pressured and falsely promised freedom if only he will deny his faith in Jesus. We have seen this tactic used in the past. Saeed will never recant his faith in Jesus – even if it means continued torture and abuse. Our primary concern is for his health and well-being with each passing day. We know that while he is very weak physically, Saeed is strong in his faith. His situation is dire and with the continued abuse and death threats, we are not sure how long Saeed will survive these horrendous conditions in prison. The most important thing we can do is pray, continue to raise awareness of his case and continue to work for his freedom.
It is incumbent upon each of us to stand up for this 32-year-old U.S. citizen, loving father of two, devoted husband, and committed pastor.
It is rare that he is able to get a letter like this to the public. He has no voice. Each of us must be his voice. Sign the petition for his freedom at SaveSaeed.org. After you have signed the petition, please consider who of your family and friends can also sign this petition to save Pastor Saeed.
Below is the complete letter from Pastor Saeed, translated into English – a powerful testimony of perseverance in the face of unspeakable persecution:
Writing from my heart.
My Dear Friends,
The conditions here get so very difficult that my eyes get blurry, my body does not have the strength to walk, and my steps become very weak and shaky.
Various (bullying) groups, the psychological warfare, a year of not seeing my family, physical violence, actions committed to humiliate me, insults, being mocked, being confronted with extremists in the prison who create another prison within the prison walls, and the death threats…
It is interesting that because I am a Christian pastor, I am carefully watched. I am expected to smile at them despite what is being done and to understand why they are doing all of these things. But, of course, I can clearly see what is going on and because I want to serve God, I see all of these difficulties as golden opportunities and great doors to serve. There are empty containers who are thirsty for a taste of the Living Water and we can quench their thirst by giving them Jesus Christ. Maybe you are also in such a situation, so pray and seek God that He would use you and direct you in the pressures and difficulties of your lives.
There are those who are enemies of the Living Bible and do not want to hear. They are trying to put me under such horrific pressures (that are sometimes unbearable) so that they can show me that my faith is empty and not real. And after all of these pressures, after all of the nails they have pressed against my hands and feet, they are only waiting for one thing…for me to deny Christ. But they will never get this from me. This is why the Bible is Truth and they are in the way of destruction.
There is another group who does not know the Gospel of Truth. Instead of truly listening and meditating on God’s Word, they are just waiting to see how I react to all of their pressures and persecution. What will come out of me during these intense times? But again, this is another golden opportunity for me to shine the light of Christ in this dark world and to let God to use me.
Yesterday when I was singing worship songs, the head of my cell room attacked me in order to stop me from praising but in response I hugged him and showed him love. He was shocked.
It is during these harsh conditions, that I deeply need God’s Saving Grace so that I can be the fragrant scent of Christ in the dark house of Evin prison. I have often seen the Shining Morning Star in the darkness of this prison and I have seen His amazing and supernatural works. Oh, how beautiful is seeing the light of the Shining Morning Star of Christ in such evil darkness.
- See your golden opportunities in pressures and difficulties.
- See the Shining Morning Star in the dark times of your life.
I Love Him! He is Gracious, Merciful, and Righteous to me. I now know that I have not been forgotten and that we are together in this path. God gives me Grace. This is my message for the Church: Stay Strong for His Glory. He will come back soon! Be with God and give your best efforts for His kingdom.
Pastor Saeed, servant of Jesus Christ in chains for endurance of Gospel. I love you all.
Share his letter. Pray. Join over a quarter of a million others, and sign the petition at SaveSaeed.org.
Could you be ‘Steadfast Under Fire’ the way Pastor Saeed is? Learn about persecution and the Christian response to persecution at the VOM Classroom.