The authorities accused Pastor Abedini of having connections with anti-government groups, and making statements and taking actions against the Iranian government, according to the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ).
On 26 September, the pastor marked three years in prison. His wife, Naghmeh Abedini, is concerned that Iranian officials are using the Iran-born American to gain political advantage over the US. Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said that the pastor will not be released until the US frees 19 Iranian prisoners.
“My husband is not collateral,” said Naghmeh Abedini. “He is a father and a man who broke no law. Yet Iran is treating him like a pawn in a game of chess.”
Pastor Abedini was arrested in September 2012 when he was visiting family in Iran. He was found guilty of “disturbing Iran’s national security by establishing a number of house churches” and sentenced to eight years in jail.
During his three years in prison for his faith, he has endured physical and verbal abuse, including several beatings, but has been denied medical treatment. In June, he was punched in the face by a group of inmates for no apparent reason.