WASHINGTON, D.C. American pastor, Saeed Abedini, imprisoned in one of Iran's most brutal and deadly prisons for his religious beliefs, spent his 33rd birthday in solitary confinement.
As of his May 7th birthday, Abedini has spent more than 220 days in one the most oppressive places, Evin Prison. Rather than spending his birthday with his wife and two children, the U.S. citizen is in the confines of a foreign prison that his wife Naghmeh describes as "a small dark whole."
On May 6, Adedini's father tried to visit his son and was again turned away by prison officials. There are new fears that Pastor Saeed's health he has for months suffered untreated internal bleeding from beatings he sustained in prison is worsening.
Yet, according to the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), he remains resilient in his faith. In Abedini's last letter to the outside world he reflected that it is his faith which is keeping him alive.
His wife wrote him an emotional birthday message this week, which was made available through ACLJ.
My dearest friend and soulmate Saeed,
As you turn 33 today, I am reminded of the previous years that we have celebrated this very special day together. Our house was always so full of joy and laughter as we rejoiced the day that you were born.
Yet today, there is a deep piercing pain in my heart knowing that you will spend your birthday in solitary confinement, constrained to a small room, not knowing when it is day or night. Under constant torture and abuse by radicals who are trying to break you and have you deny your faith in Jesus.
With tightness in my throat, pain in my heart, and tears streaming down my face...so very weak, I promise to stand strong in the strength of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ fighting with every strength of my being until you are united to our family again.
I will be a voice, where you are being silenced. I will be hands and feet, where you are being bound and in chains. That the whole world would know, that the whole world would hear that Jesus is Lord.
We are so proud of you. Hang in there. Hold on tight to Jesus. You have many brothers and sisters praying for you and standing with you.
ALCJ said that thousands have joined the letter writing campaign for Abedini's birthday and that they are in the process of literally printing out and delivering each one of these more than 50,000 letters to Evin Prison.