Pastor Saeed Abedini makes impassioned plea for imprisoned Christian friend
The Iranian pastor who was freed from prison earlier this year has pleaded for the release of another imprisoned Christian, Maryam Naghash Zargaran, known as Nasim.
On his Facebook page, Pastor Saeed Abedini said he is concerned that little attention is being paid to other members of Saeed Ministries who have been in prison now for nearly three years.
He is particularly worried about Nasim, who he says was the first woman he knew to become a Christian after his sisters.
"She was the first underground female leader and one of five leaders who helped us start churches before I became a pastor," he said.
Abedini, a convert from Islam, added: "Every time I got arrested, some leaders became afraid to work close to me and some left. But Nasim was the only one who stayed beside us until the end when I was put in Evin prison. This woman never gave up or chose fear and doubt. She always stayed beside us in Saeed Ministries until prison broke apart our ministry."
The Intelligence police of Iran arrested Nasim and sentenced her to four years of prison for assisting Abedini.
Then she escaped Iran and and went to Turkey. But eventually she left Turkey by her own choice and decided to come back to Iran and finish her prison sentence.
Abedini revealed that Nasim sent him a letter in prison that said: "I couldn't live in freedom knowing my Pastor, who first shared the Gospel with my family and me, was still suffering in prison. So I came back to prison by my own choice to stand with you and the Lord while you are in chains."
Abedini added: "And now I am FREE and this Christian sister is still in chains so this makes my Freedom hard to enjoy.
"Let's join our hands together again as we did before to pray for Nasim who is one of us and a member of Saeed Ministries. When one suffers, we all suffer."
The Christian news agency Mohabat reported last October that Nasim had been labelled a "special prisoner" and thus was subject to harassment. She was denied the right to have her brother and sister visit her for months and was given false promises about being given temporary leave permits. She was even denied the right to medical leave until recently.
According to Mohabat she underwent heart surgery about nine years ago and has been in need of regular medical check-ups ever since. In addition, she has been suffering from numbness in her limbs as well as chronic joint pain. During her time in prison, she has been struggling with anaemia, diabetes and high cholesterol while being denied any treatment.