Pastor Abedini sentenced to 8 years in Iranian prison
Jennifer Auh reports on the Boise Pastor sentenced in Iran to eight years in prison. Video by IdahoOnYourSide.comvideo
American Pastor Saeed Abedini has been convicted today by an Iranian court on account of his Christian faith. He has been sentenced to eight years in prison, what the American Center for Law and Justice is calling a "virtual death sentence.
In an unexpected development today and without family present, Iran's notorious "hanging judge," Judge Pir-Abassi of Branch 26 of the Iranian Revolutionary Court, verbally convicted and sentenced Abedini to eight years in prison for threatening the national security of Iran through his leadership in Christian house churches. Per the nature of the Iranian Revolutionary Court system, Abedini's conviction and sentence in the Iranian Revolutionary Court had to have been approved by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei himself.
Abedini and his attorney were permitted to attend just one day of his trial, which began on January 21; they were barred from attending and participating in further proceedings.
The ACLJ represents Abedini's wife Naghmeh and children who reside in the U.S.
The ACLJ has been working with the U.S. Government and at the United Nations to generate support for Abedini. Both the White House and the U.S. State Department have condemned Iran and called for Abedini's release.
Abedini, 32, was granted U.S. citizenship in 2010 through marriage to his American wife, Naghmeh. Though the Iranian government does not recognize his U.S. citizenship, for 3 years he traveled freely back and forth from Iran until this summer, when he was put under house arrest. He was imprisoned in September.
The Abedinis have two children, a 6-year-old daughter and 4-year-old son, who currently reside in the western U.S. with their mother.
Last year, the ACLJ launched an international campaign urging the United Nations, the U.S. State Department and Congress to get involved on Abedini's behalf. Nearly 250,000 Americans have signed an ACLJ petition demanding Abedini's release.
Led by Chief Counsel Jay Sekulow<http://demoss.pr-optout.com/Tracking.aspx?Data=HHL%3d8%2f%3a1%408-%3e...>, the American Center for Law and Justice focuses on constitutional law and is based in Washington.