Saeed Abedini's wife says prison guards continually pressure her husband to renounce his faith

(Photo: Courtesy American Center for Law and Justice)An undated photograph of jailed U.S. Pastor Saeed Abedini, before his arrest by Iranian authorities min 2012.

The wife of imprisoned Iranian pastor Saeed Abedini says her husband is under constant pressure to deny his faith in Christ.

Abedini, an American citizen, has been in prison in Iran for more than three years after being arrested while working on an orphanage project in the country.

In a statement released through the American Center for Law and Justice, Naghmeh Abedini said her husband was still recovering from injuries sustained during beatings by guards. 

She described the darkness of prison life in Iran, with constant threats and the recent executions of inmates making things difficult for her husband.

In spite of his grim surroundings, she says Saeed is holding fast to his faith and asking for prayers.

"They continually threaten Saeed that the only key to his freedom is denying Christ and returning to Islam," Naghmeh reported.

"Saeed refuses to deny Christ and continues to be a light and witness in that dark prison.

"These threats, coupled with the fact that there have been mass executions during the last week in Rajayee Shahr prison, have really taken their toll on Saeed. He asks for prayer for continued strength."

She added: "The guards have also been threatening Saeed that he will never go free and additional charges (and years) will be added to his sentence (which they have done to other Christians and fellow inmates)." 

Abedini is currently serving an eight-year prison sentence and his wife has been tirelessly campaigning for his freedom in the US, where she lives with their two children.

She recently met with US President Barack Obama to plead with him to put pressure on Iran to release her husband. 

During the brief meeting, Obama assured her that bringing Saeed home safely was a "top priority" for his administration.

Last month, Naghmeh reported that Abedini had been left badly shaken by the execution of six of his fellow prisoners.

The hanging of the inmates occurred on the same day as Abedini was allowed a rare prison visit by members of his family. 

"It was a hard and dark day having witnessed that and seeing life being taken. The prison visit was also very hard as the families of those who were executed were crying and wailing," she said.

The ACLJ is maintaining its support of Naghmeh and her campaign for her husband's freedom, and over 300,000 have so far signed its petition demanding his release.

Copyright © 2015 Ecumenical News