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Pastor Saeed Abedini, a U.S. citizen serving an 8-year sentence in Iran for his Christian faith, has been transferred to one of the deadliest prisons in the world.
Instead of sharing a cell with fellow prisoners of conscience, he now is surrounded by 22,000 of Iran’s most violent criminals – murderers and rapists – in a prison built to only hold 5,000 inmates.
One foreign diplomat described the horrendous conditions of the prison this way:
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 Rajaï 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.
His very life is at stake.
Pastor Saeed really is a modern day Daniel in a modern day lions’ den.
Thousands of years ago, in Persia, on the same soil that makes up the current country of Iran, a man named Daniel too stood firm in his faith. He refused to compromise his faith in God. He refused to recant his faith in God when the rulers of the nation he lived in demanded it.
He was thrown into a literal lions’ den. He prayed, and God closed the mouths of the lions, protecting him from certain death. As a result, he was freed and allowed to practice his faith.
Today, Pastor Saeed faces a new kind of lions’ den, Rajai Shahr, where lions appear in the form of prisoners who routinely murder other prisoners.
Pray that God would shut the mouths of the lions that surround Pastor Saeed– that God would deliver Pastor Saeed unscathed as God did with Daniel so many years ago.
Pray and urge our nation’s leaders to take action. Urge President Obama to directly engage diplomatically to save Pastor Saeed’s life. Sign the petition to immediately intervene to #SaveSaeed at BeHeardProject.com.
Matthew Clark is Associate Counsel for Government Affairs and Media Advocacy with the ACLJ. A lifelong citizen of the Commonwealth of Virginia, he lives with his wife and three boys in Northern Virginia. Follow Matthew Clark: @_MatthewClark.