Saeed Abedini, an Iranian-American pastor currently imprisoned in Iran, is being threatened with death as the country continues its longstanding pressures against Christians, according to a U.S. organization advocating in Abedini's behalf.
The Iranian-born Abedini, a U.S. citizen who planted a network of house churches in Iran, was imprisoned last September and recently indicted on secret charges. According to the American Center for Law and Justice, Abedini's case recently was handed to Iranian Judge Pir-Abassi, known as one of the country's "hanging judges" for the number of people he has sent to their deaths.
Also languishing in prison in Iran are attorney Mohammed Ali Dadkhah and pastor Benham Irani.
The ACLJ reported Jan. 10 that Abedini had released a letter to his family members in Iran describing his ordeal.
"The life of Pastor Saeed is in grave danger," Jordan Sekulow, executive director of the ACLJ, said in a news release. "When you read Pastor Saeed's own words, you understand that Iran has absolutely no regard for human rights and religious freedom."
In his letter, a copy of which was posted by the ACLJ, Abedini writes of sleeping in a room with a bright light constantly lit, blurring day and night, and of the difficult process by which he says God is making him a godly man.
"It is a hard process of warm and cold to make steel," Abedini wrote. "This is the process in my life today: one day I am told I will be freed and allowed to see my family and kids on Christmas (which was a lie) and the next day I am told I will hang for my faith in Jesus. One day there are intense pains after beatings in interrogations, the next day they are nice to you and offer you candy. These hot and cold days only make you a man of steel for moving forward in expanding His Kingdom."
Abedini also wrote of the joy he felt when he heard how Christians around the world were supporting him, and that other prisoners were "shocked" by the love followers of Jesus showed each other.
"I told them how in the Bible we are all considered brothers and sisters (despite race, color, or nationality) and we are to share in each other's pains," Abedini wrote. "This comes from our Lord. The Word of God says that when we are persecuted for our faith we are to count it all joy. When I think that all of these trials and persecutions are being recorded in heaven for me, my heart is filled with complete joy."
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SOURCE: Baptist Press