Saeed Abedini, a US pastor who was released from an Iranian prison as part of a recent prisoner exchange, says that he was tortured and placed in solitary confinement after he refused to sign a false confession.
Abedini told Fox News, "In interrogation once they beat me very badly because they wanted me to write something I didn't do … Actually it was in a courtroom that the judge closed the door and the interrogators started beating me, and at that time I got a stomach bleeding."
He added that he was put in a cell with an al-Qaeda member who tried to kill him, and that he saw other prisoners crying and screaming as they were taken to be hanged. "The worst thing that I saw was when they took some Sunnis for execution…Most of them were Sunnis, some of them were political prisoners…. I can say most were executed for their faith."
In 2012, Abedini was sentenced to eight years in prison for allegedly endangering Iranian national security. As evidence, prosecutors pointed out that he had organized Christian churches based in people's homes. "He said you are here because you want to use Christianity to remove government and it was like no, I don’t want to do that, I just came here to start orphanage, loving people and share the gospel with people and just that."
He was released after serving more than three years of the sentence, along with three others, in exchange for seven Iranian-American citizens who had been convicted of violating US sanctions against the Islamic Republic.