Naghmeh, who has been prohibited from speaking with her husband by phone, knows that what her husband calls the "dark house of Evin Prison" is taking a significant toll on him. "Our primary concern is for his health and well-being with each passing day. We know that while he is very weak physically, Saeed is strong in his faith. His situation is dire and with the continued abuse and death threats, we are not sure how long Saeed will survive these horrendous conditions in prison."
For the first time, Pastor Saeed confirmed that Iranian officials are trying to get him to recant his Christian faith – something that he says he will never do. "They are only waiting for one thing…for me to deny Christ," wrote Pastor Saeed. "But they will never get this from me."
Pastor Saeed said he continues to live out his faith in prison and despite facing what he calls "horrific pressures" that are sometimes "unbearable" – he offers encouragement to others who face difficult challenges. "Maybe you are also in such a situation, so pray and seek God that He would use you and direct you in the pressures and difficulties of your lives," Pastor Saeed wrote.
The ACLJ, along with its European affiliate, filed a document last week with the U.N. Human Rights Council (HRC) calling on Iran to immediately release Pastor Saeed, citing Iran's violations of international law and human rights abuses.Also last week, more than 80 members of Congress – in a strong bi-partisan move – sent a letter to Secretary of State Kerry urging him to "exhaust every possible option to secure Mr. Abedini's immediate release." The letter stated that "[a]s a U.S. citizen, Mr. Abedini deserves nothing less than the exercising of every diplomatic tool of the U.S. government to defend his basic human rights." "This new letter from Pastor Saeed could not be more clear or direct – he continues to face life-threatening abuse simply because of his religious beliefs," said ACLJ Executive Director Jordan Sekulow. "The letter also underscores the need to move quickly. A U.S. citizen is in failing health from beatings and abuse – a menacing scenario that should command the full attention and engagement of the U.S. government. It's our hope that Secretary Kerry will act without delay – doing all that can be done by the State Department to save this U.S. citizen." As Pastor Saeed's wife, Naghmeh put it: "The most important thing we can do is pray, continue to raise awareness of his case and continue to work for his freedom."