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Iran Sentences American Christian Pastor Saeed Abedini to Eight Years in Jail for Evangelizing

Christian Pastor Saeed Abedini, an American imprisoned in Iran on charges of evangelizing, was recently sentenced to eight years in prison.

Abedini was sentenced by Judge Pir-Abassi to eight years in prison for supposedly threatening the national security of Iran through his leadership in Christian churches, reports and the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ).

Abedini was ordered to serve the time in Iran’s Evin Prison, one of the most brutal jails in Iran.

Abedini, who was born in Iran but is now a U.S. citizen, claims that he returned to Iran to help establish an orphanage. Police pulled him off of a bus last August and threw him into the Evin Prison in Tehran before a trial date was even set.

The prosecutor claimed that Abedini undermined the Iranian government by creating a network of Christian house churches and that he was attempting to sway Iranian youth away from Islam.

Jordan Sekulow, executive director of the ACLJ, represents Pastor Saeed’s wife and children. He told “This is a real travesty, a mockery of justice. From the very beginning, Iranian authorities have lied about all aspects of this case, even releasing rumors of his expected release. Iran has not only abused its own laws, it has trampled on the fundamentals of human rights. We call on the citizens of the world to rise up in protest. We call on governments around the world to stand and defend Pastor Saeed.”

National Security Council spokesperson Bernadette Meehan said in a statement on Sunday that the Obama administration is "deeply disappointed that Saeed Abedini has been sentenced to eight years in prison in Iran on a charge related to his religious beliefs. We condemn Iran's continued violation of the universal right of freedom of religion and we call on the Iranian authorities to release Mr. Abedini."

Iran's state news agency reported last Monday that Abedini would soon be free.

But Abedini's wife, Naghmeh, said: “This is all a lie by the Iranian media. This has been a repeated promise by the Iranian regime since Saeed was first thrown in prison on Sept. 26, 2012. We have presented bail. After the judge told Saeed’s lawyer that bail was back on the table, the family in Tehran ran around in circles today to make sure Saeed was let out on bail. But again the bail officer rejected bail."


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