After a new round of verbal and physical attacks from Iranian intelligence officers Wednesday, American Pastor Saeed Abedini was threatened with additional charges and more time in prison as his faithful wife, Naghmeh, pleaded for his release.
A report from the American Center for Law and Justice said shortly after a family visit at the Rajaei Shahr prison in Iran Nagmeh heard news that her husband could face added time for possible new charges on top of the eight-year sentence he's already facing for his faith.
"Yesterday (Tuesday) in Iran, Iranian intelligence officers summoned Pastor Saeed for an intense round of interrogation. Saeed reported to his family that the interrogators were abusive both verbally and physically. During the course of interrogation, the officers repeatedly used a taser gun on Saeed. This new assault is concerning as Saeed is still being denied needed medical care for injuries sustained as a result of beatings in the past," said an ACLJ report shared with The Christian Post.
"The interrogators threatened that Saeed will face new criminal charges. They claimed Saeed has connections with anti-government groups and has made statements and taken actions against the government of Iran. Saeed denied all of these allegations, and once again asserted that he is apolitical and that he has never threatened the security of, made any statements against, or taken any action against the government of Iran," the reported added.
Reacting to the abused meted out to her husband, Naghmeh said it was difficult to endure.
"When will this nightmare end? Saeed is not a criminal. Being a Christian and motivated by Christian values to help the poorest and most needy children in Iran should be seen as good for the Iranian society. Hearing that yet again the hardliners in Iran are trying to fabricate evidence against my husband and that he was abused and tasered is almost too much to bear," she said.
Last weekend she met with more than 100 Parliamentarians from nearly 50 countries and urged them to sign a letter calling for her husband's release ahead of the 70th Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations which convenes in New York City this week. Iran's President Hassan Rouhani is expected to attend as Abedini languishes in jail for a third year.
"We are alarmed by ongoing reports of violations of this fundamental freedom for religious minorities, including Christians and the Bahá'ís. We respectfully ask you to ensure that all individuals in Iran, be they Muslim, Christian, Bahá'í, Atheist, Zoroastrian, Jew or from another faith, can fully enjoy freedom of religion or belief without fear of violence or discrimination," the letter states in part. It was signed by 67 Parliamentarians.
"We are particularly concerned about Saeed, who has been jailed for nearly three years. We understand he has been held in intolerable conditions for merely peacefully exercising his faith in private homes. We specifically request the release of Mr. Abedini, as well as other Christians," the letter further notes.
In her comments this week, Nagmeh reiterated her call to world leaders to help free her husband and prayed that the Iranian president would listen.
"It is time for governments all over the world shift their focus to the injustices of the Iranian government and call on the government of Iran to free my husband. It is time for businesses seeking to do business in Iran to look beyond their bottom dollar and see the instability of a government known to imprison innocent men and women who have exercised their fundamental freedoms," she said.
"Whether we operate in the field of business, government, or simply are members of human society, we must expect and demand more of our leaders. I pray that as President Rouhani plans his travel to the United States next week, he will hear relentless voices crying out for Saeed's freedom," she added.
This article was originally published in The Christian Post.