By Christian T. George
A curtain is all that separates U.S. citizen Saeed Abedini from the murderers and rapists in Iran’s deplorable Rajai Shahr prison. Robbed, tortured, and promised release if he denounces his Christian faith, Abedini continues to be deprived of basic human and religious rights.
A former Muslim, Abedini converted to Christianity thirteen years ago and dedicated his life to Christian ministry. Last July, he was arrested for building an orphanage in Iran. Although his trial violated international and Iranian standards of law, Abedini was charged with “undermining the Iranian government,” and incarcerated in the notorious Evin prison where he was routinely beaten by the guards.
In a letter to his supporters, written on February 18, Abedini summarized his worsening condition as wrought with “various (bullying) groups, the psychological warfare, a year of not seeing my family, physical violence, actions committed to humiliate me, insults, being mocked, being confronted with extremists in the prison who create another prison within the prison walls, and the death threats.…”
On November 3, Abedini was transferred from Evin to the even more dangerous Rajai Shahr prison in Karaj – a place where prisoner violence and unexplained deaths are prevalent. Abedini shares space in Ward 3 of Hall 9 with some of Iran’s most violent criminals. He has awoken to a man threatening his life with a knife, the few hygienic possessions he owned have been stolen, and the critical medicine Iranian doctors prescribed for his beatings at Evin are being withheld. For this reason, Abedini’s health continues to deteriorate. He is currently suffering from internal bleeding, kidney pain, urinary tract infections, and lice. In an interview with The IRD, his wife, Naghmeh, shares the most immediate concern. “I am worried that he will be attacked by fellow inmates and would not survive that prison.”