Saeed Abedini, an American Pastor who has been imprisoned in Iran, has been moved to one of the deadliest prisons in the world. Abedini is in grave danger, according to witnesses, after being sentenced to eight years.
For more than a year, the 33-year-old pastor, husband and father of two has been incarcerated in Evin Prison, one of the worst prisons in the world. He has endured mental and physical torment — including beatings at the hands of his captors that resulted in internal bleeding and other serious injuries. As hard as it is to imagine, his transfer from Evin in Tehran to Rajai Shahr Prison in Karaj puts him in even more danger.
Rajai Shahr is known in the international human rights community as the prison where prisoners of conscience are sent to disappear.
Pastor Saeed went from sharing a prison cell with political prisoners to being surrounded by ruthless murderers. Prisoners who the Islamic Republic of Iran deems as inconvenient are often murdered or never heard from again after being sent to this prison.
Though months ago such a move was threatened as Iranian officials pressured Pastor Saeed to recant his faith in Christ and convert to Islam, the transfer, which occurred Sunday, was abrupt and unexplained.
Pastor Saeed’s family in Iran who had been regularly able to visit him once a week was told he had inexplicably been transferred and was denied the ability to see him.
This deeply disturbing development not only cuts him off from contact with his Iranian family but poses a severe danger to Pastor Saeed’s life.
One diplomat described Rajai Shahr Prison in these unmistakably grave terms:
“Rajai Shahr is the place where political prisoners who are seen as a nuisance, are stowed away. Going to Karaj is a severe punishment. Once in there one stops to be a human being. One is put out of sight, even of human rights activists and the press. In Rajai Shahr, political prisoners have to share cells with dangerous criminals like murderers, rapists and drug addicts who don’t hesitate to attack their cell mates. They have nothing to lose: many of them are condemned to death anyway. Murders or unexplained deaths are a regular occurrence.”