For the past three and a half years, Pastor Saeed Abedini was living a real-life horror story. Locked away in an Iranian cell and tortured for his faith since 2012, Saeed said he survived by praying — sometimes as much as 20 hours a day. With only the clothes on his back, he was left in solitary confinement, seeing people only when it was time for routine beatings — or, in one of the brighter spots of his captivity — sharing a cell with fellow prisoner and U.S. Marine Amir Hekmati.
Last night, after more than three and a half years of praying for Saeed, Americans finally had the chance to hear from him. In an emotional sit-down with Greta Van Susteren, the pastor explained that as awful as his experience was, he was still more fortunate than most. “The worst thing I saw was when they took some Sunnis for execution, it was in front of our eyes, and they took like tens of them to hang, every Wednesday.”
Violent interrogations were regular occurrences for the U.S. pastor, but medical treatment following them was not. Left to bleed internally, Saeed said the “best thing” he could do was “pray.” Passing the long hours was an even greater struggle, since — with the exception of the 60 days with Amir — Saeed had no one to talk to and nothing to read.
Now, waking up in the safe and comfortable surroundings of Rev. Franklin Graham’s North Carolina retreat, Saeed hopes to start healing more than his body. No one, Rev. Graham said, can “begin to understand or appreciate what Saeed has endured after being imprisoned in Iran because of his Christian faith.”
We rejoice with the Abedinis that their loved one is home — and continue to pray for the thousands of Saeeds suffering around the world, waiting for governments like the United States’ to notice.
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