U.S. Pastor Saeed Abedini, who has now been in an Iranian jail for his Christian faith for nearly two-and-a-half years, is "shaken" as six of his fellow prisoners were executed around him this week, his wife, Naghmeh, says.
"Saeed was quite shaken as he had to witness 6 fellow prisoners being beaten and taken to be executed (hanged) that day," 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 learned about this after Pastor Saeed'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 remains in an incredibly dangerous situation, ACLJ says, explaining that summary executions, inmate violence and beatings are commonplace.
Saeed has also sustained prolonged internal injuries due to beatings in the prison.
"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.
Obama raised the issue of the pastor's detention during his first phone conversation with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in September 2013, but authorities in Iran have not responded.
Saeed grew up in Iran before converting to Christianity at the age of 20. He later traveled with his family back and forth between Iran and the U.S. to meet other members of his family and for Christian work.
During one such trip in 2009, Saeed was detained by Iranian officials and interrogated for his conversion. While he was released with a warning against engaging in underground church activities, he was once again arrested in 2012 while working on a non-sectarian orphanage project.
Saeed was sentenced for endangering "national security," but the ACLJ believes the punishment has more to do with Saeed's Christian faith.