Remember those in prison, as if you were their fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated as
if you yourselves were suffering. Hebrews 13:3, NIV
April 11, 2013
Pastor Saeed Abedini Given Ultimatum: 'Deny Christ or Face Longer Prison Time'
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.
"My response to them is Romans 8:35-39. The reality of Christian living is that difficulties or problems do arise in our lives. Persecution and difficulties are not new occurrences, but are seen often in the Christian life. It is through the suffering and tribulations that we are to enter the Kingdom of God," the U.S. citizen said in his letter.
The ACLJ, which is representing the pastor's family back in the U.S. and has been at the forefront of campaigning for Abedini's release, commended the pastor for his strong faith in the face of mental and physical abuse.
"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," Abedini wrote in a letter in March. "The nurse would also come to take care of us and provide us with treatment, but she said in front of others 'in our religion we are not suppose to touch you, you are unclean. Baha'i (religion) and Christians are unclean!' She did not treat me and that night I could not sleep from the intense pain I had."
The U.S. State Department, Secretary of State John Kerry and the European Union have all called for the pastor's release, and over 550,000 people worldwide from over 180 countries have signed a petition lending him support.
"Pastor Saeed is refusing to deny Christ. We must let him know that we will never forget him and will never stop working for his release," the ACLJ has said.
The law group ACLJ also started a letter-writing campaign for Abedini's birthday on May 7, hoping that all the notes will "flood" Evin Prison. Those who wish to add their letter to the 20,000 already written can do so by going to SaveSaeed.org.
38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from his love. Death can't, and life can't. The angels can't, and the demons can't. Our fears for today, our worries about tomorrow, and even the powers of hell can't keep God's love away.
39 Whether we are high above the sky or in the deepest ocean, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Jesus said: "I have told you these things, so that in me you
may have peace. In this world you will have trouble.
But take heart! I have overcome the world."
- Gospel of John 16:33
"Others were tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection...
they were stoned; they were sawn in two; they were put to death by the sword... the world was
not worthy of them." -- Hebrews 11: 37-38.
2013 - October 21 - Pastor Eddie Romero - Tonight, at about 10:30PM (9:00AM Tehran time) Pastor Eddie Romero approached the notorious Evin Prison in Tehran and made a declaration of protest on behalf of five Iranian prisoners: Farshid Fathi, Saeed Abedini, Mostafa Bordbar, Alireza Seyyedian, and Mohammed Ali Dadkhah.
For more information go to: exodus8one.org
2013 - October 5 - Maryam Naghash-Zargaran - Maryam (aka Nasim) an Iranian Christian Prisoner in Evin Prison was Transferred to Hospital
2012 - January - The Governor General of Tehran Province, Morteza Tamadon, acknowledged in a statement on 4th January that a number of evangelical Christians had been arrested. He referred to their 'corrupting' influence and warned that further arrests are imminent.
2011 - December - Alireza Seyyedian - Alireza a Follower of Jesus since 2006, was arrested and sentenced to six years in December 2011. He is kept in the section 350 of Evin Prison where political prisoners are held.
2011 - September - Mehdi "Petros" Foroutan, a 27-year-old pastor in Iran, was arrested in January 2010 and charged with crimes against national security and blasphemy against Islam. (as of 2/24/2012 - 154 days in Prison)
2011 - May - Behnam Irani, a 41-year-old pastor from Kraj, Iran, was convicted of crimes against national security in January 2011 and sentenced to one year in prison. After voluntarily surrendering to authorities on May 31 to begin his sentence, he learned that he would be forced to serve five years in connection with a previous conviction.
2011 - Rev. Behrooz Khanjani trial hearing on 4/5/2001, He is married with a 6 yo child and has already spent over 8 months in prison
2011 - Rev. Leonard Keshishian, the pastor of the Assemblies of God Church in Isfahan has been arrested
2010 - December 26 - Farshid Fathi - was arrested on Dec. 26, 2010 in a wave of arrests of believers in Tehran and other areas. He was sentenced to six years of imprisonment on March 5, 2012. Farshid's appeal against the charges was rejected in June 2012. He is due to serve the rest of his sentence in Evin Prison.
2010 - October - a young believer has died in Iran after he had been severely beaten by a relative who objected to his strong faith in Christ. He leaves behind a wife and two young children. (Reported by Elam)
2010 - September 23, Nine followers of Jesus were detained in Hamedan, the capital of Hamadan province, on charges of evangelism, which potentially carries the death penalty under strict laws in Iran.
- According to a report by FCNN (Farsi Christian News Network), 4 followers of Jesus Christ from Hamadan were arrested on September 4, 2010. Three of them were released on April 30, 2011, after 8 months in prison (Arezoo Teymouri & her husband Arash Karmanjai and Sonia Keshish Ovanesian). Vahid Abrahemian is still under arrest as of April 30, 2011.
2010 - July 24 at 9:00 p.m., 27-year-old Neshan Saeedi was spending a quiet evening at home with his wife and young daughter when plain-clothes security forces entered his house and arrested him. The security officers searched the home and seized personal belongings such as a computer, CDs containing films of Christian seminars and teachings, Christian books and Bibles, and family photo albums. As of September 09, 2010 - there is no information about the condition of Neshan.
2010 - July 18, 15 Christians detained in Mashhad,Iran's second largest city, remain detained and are "under pressure pressure to recant their faith but are refusing to do so." - (Reported by The Voice of the Martyrs)
2010 - April 29, Ali Golchin (29), has been held in solitary confinement in Tehran's Evin prison since he was arrested in his home town of Varamin on April 29. After weeks of appealing to the authorities, Ali's father was finally allowed access to him on June 17 -- though they were allowed only 10 minutes together. Ali was released on bail on July 25.
2007 - In June, a number of Iranian Christians have been arrested and are held in unknown places, including Mr. fard from Tehran.
2007 - Mohammad Ali Jafarzadeh, May 2007, Executed (hanged) in Evin Prison
2007 - Mohammad Jaberi, May 2007, Executed (hanged) in Evin Prison
2007 - Mr. Patrick, an Iranian Christian and a member of Church of Kermanshah was arrested in May.
2007 - Several Iranian Christians from Church of Mashhad were arrested in February.
2006 - 14 Iranian Christians from Church of Rasht were arrested in December.
2006 - Iranian secret police began to raid and arrest leaders of the Islamic republic's indigenous "Jesus Only" movement Sunday December 10, arriving unannounced in the early morning hours to search their homes in Tehran, Karaj, Rasht and Bandar-i Anzali.