Recant or Else: Saeed Faces New Psychological Torture
Iranian prison guards holding American Pastor Saeed Abedini have reportedly given him a warning: deny Jesus Christ and return to Islam or stay imprisoned for life.
Lawyers representing the 35-year-old Abedini say he's also facing increased psychological torment.
Saaed Abedini was convicted on January 27, 2013 and condemned to eight years in prison. Now Iranian authorities are threatening to extend that prison sentence, something his lawyers say has been done to other Christian prisoners in the past.
"They find some other way to set them up for a falsehood and try them for additional convictions," Tiffany Barrans, with the American Center for Law and Justice, told CBN News.
According to Abedini's wife, Naghmeh, prison guards have become increasingly hostile -- reportedly tormenting the American pastor with constant psychological threats.
In a Facebook post, Naghmeh writes: "He has been under a lot of pressure and attack from the hardliners...The guards have also been threatening Saeed that he will never go free...They continually threaten Saeed that the only key to his freedom is denying Christ and returning to Islam."
Abedini is serving his sentence in one of the toughest prisons in Iran.
"This is a prison that was built for 5,000 individuals," Barrans explained. "Currently it is housing over 20,000. So you've got incredible hygienic conditions, you've got threats from other cellmates and certainly several of them see him as a threat right now as Iran and the United States are negotiating this nuclear deal."
Naghmeh says recent prisoner executions have also taken their toll on her husband. Despite the hardships, she writes that he continues to remain strong in the faith.
"He wants you all to know that the Lord continues to move in that prison and lives are being transformed!" his wife wrote on Facebook.
"That they had a great Easter in prison," she continued. "Saeed desperately missed being with our family on Easter, but new Easter traditions were created in prison!"
"Over the years this journey has truly become more difficult and painful for Saeed and for the kids and I," she wrote. "Our family appreciates your continued prayers."