U.S. Pastor Saeed Abedini, who has remained in an Iranian prison due to his Christian faith for nearly two-and-a-half years, faces an uncertain future as six of his fellow prisoners were executed around him this week.
"Saeed was quite shaken as he had to witness 6 fellow prisoners being beaten and taken to be executed (hanged) that day," Pastor Saee's wife, Naghmeh, was quoted as saying in a report by American Center for Law and Justice on Saturday.
"It was a hard and dark day having witnessed that and seeing life being taken. The prison visit was also very hard as the families of those who were executed were crying and wailing," she added.
Naghmeh explained that she became aware of the gravity of the situation after her husband's family members in Iran were able to have a short visit with him at the prison.
"It was also an emotional visitation as it is getting closer to Jacob's 7th birthday. Last time Saeed saw Jacob he was 4 years old," she said, urging Christians to continue to pray for her husband "to have the strength to endure in that harsh prison and that Jesus would continue to meet him there and give him hope."
"Please pray that this will be the year that Saeed is released," she said.
Pastor Saeed, who is serving an eight year prison sentence for "threatening the security of the state," was first arrested in 2009 while working as a Christian leader and community organizer in Iran's underground home church communities for Christian converts who are denied the right to worship freely in public churches.
Although he was initially released after pledging to stop formally organizing house churches in Iran, he was imprisoned again after returning to Iran in 2012 to help build a state-run, secular orphanage.
The ACLJ notes that Pastor Saeed remains in an incredibly dangerous situation due to the frequent executions, inmate violence and beatings that take place in Iranian prisons. The pastor has suffered long stints in solitary confinement, and beatings and torture at the hands of his jailers and fellow inmates. He was also denied medical attention for his injuries
"The Obama Administration must do all within its power to bring this wrongfully imprisoned U.S. citizen home to his family in America," ACLJ says.
U.S. President Obama discussed Pastor Saeed's imprisonment during his first phone conversation with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in September 2013, but authorities in Iran have not responded.
Last month, the President met with Naghmeh and her children, emphasizing that Pastor Saeed's freedom is a "top priority" for him and his Administration.
After the meeting, Naghmeh said the President's words left her with a "renewed sense of hope."
"Pastor Saeed has become the face of the persecuted Christian church worldwide, one of many Christians around the world who face imprisonment, beatings and even death for their faith," said Jordan Sekulow, ACLJ executive director.
"As the world's eye turns to violence against Christians in the Middle East, we raise a united voice in urging Iran to free pastor Saeed and grant him clemency. It's time for Saeed to come home."