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Lawyers defending an American pastor jailed by the Islamic regime in Iran say there have been more beatings and little medical treatment available.
Saeed Abedini is locked up Iran’s notorious Evin Prison.
Jordan Sekulow, executive director of the American Center for Law and Justice, said Abedini’s physical condition is worsening amid continued beatings from prison guards.
“Following a brief visit from family members today, we have learned Pastor Saeed continues to suffer from the effects of a brutal beating one week ago and continues to be denied medical care,” Sekulow said.
Reports also indicate Abedini is experiencing extreme physical fatigue and attacks of fainting and physical weakness.
“That (most recent) attack came after Iranian officials refused to provide him with medical care to treat already existing internal bleeding,” Sekulow said. “The new beating has resulted in further injuries which are causing him frequent fainting spells.”
WND reported in March that the Iranian government was promising medical care for Abedini.
However, the promise is going unfulfilled, according to Sekulow.
“Pastor Saeed repeated today what he has been told by prison guards – that he is not likely to receive any medical treatment for another two months,” Sekulow said.
The continuing denial of medical attention is alarming to Abedini’s family in Iran and in the United States.
“His family is deeply concerned about his health, which continues to deteriorate. He is receiving no medical treatment for internal bleeding and has sustained additional injuries from a recent beating,” said ACLJ spokesman Gene Kapp.
Fox News is reporting that along with the beatings, prison guards are subjecting the pastor to “psychological abuse.”
Abedini’s wife, Naghmeh Abedini, said: “He is now continually attacked and threatened. The Iranian government should know that we are watching and aware of what they are doing to Saeed inside Evin prison. We need to speak louder until Saeed is home safely on U.S. soil.”
Rep. Robert Aderholt, R-Ala., is demanding Secretary of State John Kerry intervene. The congressman also said the Iranians should be grateful for the pastor’s work.
“Pastor Abedini’s arrest, trial and now conviction for his Christian and humanitarian efforts in Iran are completely unjust and are another sad example of Iran’s blatant disregard for religious freedom, the rule of law and its international commitments,” Aderholt said in a statement.
“Pastor Abedini is an American citizen, who has done nothing but try to bring good to Iran, through his humanitarian efforts, including founding an orphanage and practicing the faith in which he believes. He should be released immediately and sent home to the United States to be with his wife and children,” Aderholt said.
Kapp said the Iranians will fail in their goal of defeating the pastor.
“He has steadfastly refused to renounce his faith in Christ, which is what the Iranians want him to do. His faith is sustaining him in this brutal prison,” Kapp said.
Sekulow noted Abedini heard about the Boston Marathon terrorist bombing.
“As his health condition worsens, Pastor Saeed told family members that he heard about the terrorist bombings in Boston on the prison radio, expressed his concern, and said he is praying for America during this difficult time,” Sekulow said.
Kerry recently called on Iran to release Abedini from prison after months in which the U.S. government ignored the plight of the American citizen.
Kerry released the statement while traveling in the Middle East.
“I am deeply concerned about the fate of U.S. citizen Saeed Abedini, who has been detained for nearly six months and was sentenced to eight years in prison in Iran on charges related to his religious beliefs. I am disturbed by reports that Mr. Abedini has suffered physical and psychological abuse in prison, and that his condition has become increasingly dire. Such mistreatment violates international norms as well as Iran’s own laws,” Kerry’s statement said.
“I am also troubled by the lack of due process in Mr. Abedini’s case and Iran’s continued refusal to allow consular access by Swiss authorities, the U.S. protecting power in Iran. I welcome reports that Mr. Abedini was examined by a physician and expect Iranian authorities to honor their commitment to allow Mr. Abedini to receive treatment for these injuries from a specialist outside the prison. The best outcome for Mr. Abedini is that he be immediately released,” the statement said.
The high-level intervention, should it actually produce results, may be coming just in time.
Abedini was given the eight-year sentence for "activities against the state." Since he was confined, the ACLJ's sources have given regular reports of the pastor's precarious health situation.
The health concerns were also addressed by the U. S. Ambassador to the U.N. Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe in comments made to the U. N. Human Rights Commission in Geneva. The ambassador called for Iran to release Abedini.
Donahoe also called on the government of Iran "to provide without delay the urgent medical attention Mr. Abedini needs."