THE mother of Saeed Abedini, an American pastor imprisoned in Iran, has fled the country after the government threatened her with arrest, according to Naghmeh Abedini, Abedini’s wife. Abedini’s mother and two of his siblings are now in a “nearby country” and will head to the United States shortly.
Abedini, an Iranian-American Christian pastor, is a former Muslim who converted to Christianity in 2000. Since then, he helped found about 100 churches in 30 Iranian cities with 2,000 members. Those churches are housed in private homes.
“Saeed’s mum has been under constant threat and intimidation by the Iranian government as she has been following up on Saeed’s case (clemency, hospital ….) and now she is forced to leave Iran because of it and threat of being arrested,” Naghmeh wrote on Facebook. “The government (magistrate) has now said that clemency is no longer an option and they will not allow Saeed to be treated at the hospital.”
The churches Abedini founded, which are not formally recognized by the government, provided a place for former Muslims who have converted to Christianity to pray. However, when President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad was elected in 2005, the house church movement suffered a crackdown forcing Abedini, his wife and two children to return to the United States.
Abedini — whose wife and two children live in Boise, Idaho — had returned to Iran on numerous occasions before his recent arrest. In 2009, during his first trip back, he was detained and questioned over his conversion to Christianity. He was released after signing an agreement he would no longer participate in the home church movement in the country.
In July 2012, Abedini visited Iran to help build an orphanage in the city of Rasht. The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps arrested him. In January, he was charged with compromising national security and was sentenced to eight years in prison. There, he has reportedly been beaten by inmates and guards.
- “Please pray for Saeed’s mum and her health and her emotions as she has had to part with Saeed.
- “Please pray for me as it is difficult being cut off from Saeed and updates about him until January when Saeed’s dad will hopefully get to visit him (only immediate family are allowed to visit and with his parents gone, that leaves no one left in Iran to visit Saeed).
- “Please pray for Saeed during this difficult time of no visitation. Please pray for his health and his miraculous release.”