Tags: Iran | Religion | pastor saeed abedini | released | iran | prisoner | swap

Pastor Abedini on Iranian Detention: 'I Just Prayed and Prayed'

Image:  Pastor Abedini on Iranian Detention: 'I Just Prayed and Prayed'
 Pastor Saeed Abedini's photo on his wife's necklace (AP)

By    |   Monday, 25 Jan 2016 08:25 PM

Christian pastor Saeed Abedini, who was freed as part of a prisoner swap after spending three-and-a-half years in an Iranian prison, said in an interview Monday he was tortured and accused of using his faith to overthrow the government.

He spent two months alone in a room with fellow American Amir Hekmati, a former Marine, where there was little to do to pass the time, Abedini told Fox News Channel's "On the Record with Greta Van Susteren." 

"I just prayed and prayed," he said, saying that some days he spent 20 hours just talking to God.

Hekmati, who also was released as part of the same prisoner swap, appeared frail and beaten the first time he saw him, Abedini said, and had already been in solitary confinement for more than a year.

Abedini, now bald, unlike the photos seen of him before he was detained while building a orphanage in his native country, said he was taken before a judge who asked him if he knew why he was in trouble.

"I said I'm here because of my Christian faith," Abedini said he responded.

"No," the judge replied, according to Abedini. "You are here because you want to use Christianity to remove the government."

"And I was like 'no, I don't want to do that. I just came here to start loving people and share the gospel with people, just that,'" Abedini said. "He said, 'no you guys are using Christianity to remove the government. That's the reason you are here.' I said 'no, I can't do that. I pray for you. I love you. And I didn't come for that.'"

Abedini said he was beaten by prison officials in an attempt to get him to sign a confession, and at one point was beaten in front of the judge with the courtroom doors closed. He was put into a cell with the most hardened criminals to get him to confess out of fear of being beaten by his fellow inmates.

Abedini said he also saw other prisoners undergo torture. Groups of Sunni Muslims who had been imprisoned only because of their faith were hanged on a weekly basis, he said.

Soldiers would tape the hands and feet of the frightened men, who were yelling and crying, he said. "It was very graphic pain when they took people for execution."

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Christian pastor Saeed Abedini, who was freed as part of a prisoner swap after spending three-and-a-half years in an Iranian prison, said in an interview Monday he was tortured and accused of using his faith to overthrow the government. He spent two months alone in a room...
pastor saeed abedini, released, iran, prisoner, swap, christian, faith
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2016-25-25
Monday, 25 Jan 2016 08:25 PM
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