The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) has joined calls for the release of American pastor Saeed Abedini, who is set to stand trial and possibly face the death penalty in Iran next week.
"The national security charges leveled against Mr. Abedini are bogus and are a typical tactic by the Iranian government to masquerade the real reason for the charges: to suppress religious belief and activity of which the Iranian government does not approve. USCIRF calls on the Iranian government to release Mr. Abedini immediately and unconditionally," wrote Katrina Lantos Swett, the Chair of the congressionally established commission.
A 32-year old U.S. citizen who was born in Iran but converted to Christianity at the age of 20, later marrying his American wife Nagmeh, Pastor Abedini has long been targeted by Iranian authorities for helping underground churches in Iran and for his charity work establishing orphanages. He has been warned and detained by Iranian officials before for his work, but was imprisoned in July 2011 when authorities once again apprehended him during one of his trips from America to Iran. He is currently being held in Evin Prison in Tehran. more >>
Pastor Saeed Abedini, an American citizen born in Iran, is facing a quick trial in Tehran on Jan. 21 and has expressed fears that he might be given the death penalty for his Christian work.
The American Center for Law and Justice shared an update with The Christian Post about the pastor's case, and revealed that his attorney in Iran has been allowed to see the court file only very recently – to discover that the pastor's trial date is set for Monday, Jan. 21, less than one week from now.
"It is an outrage that Pastor Saeed's trial date and charge against him would be withheld from his legal counsel until less than a week before the trial itself. Not only is Iran violating Pastor Saeed's fundamental freedom of religion, but it is making a mockery of justice," Jordan Sekulow, Executive Director of the American Center for Law and Justice, said in a statement. The ACLJ is representing the pastor's family, his wife and two children, who are in the U.S. more >>
Pastor Saeed Abedini, a U.S. citizen imprisoned for his Christian faith in his native country Iran, has told his wife in a letter that he is being tortured and might be sentenced to death by hanging.
In his letter, written from the notorious Evin Prison in Tehran and addressed to his wife Naghmeh, the 32-year-old pastor said he was uncertain about his fate.
"This is the process in my life today: one day I am told I will be freed and allowed to see my kids on Christmas (which was a lie) and the next day I am told I will hang for my faith in Jesus," Abedini wrote. "One day there are intense pains after beatings in interrogations, the next day they are nice to you and offer you candy." more >>
An American pastor currently held in Iranian prison is facing a grim future after it was announced that his case was recently transferred to a judge accused of human rights violations and infamous for the number of people he has sentenced to death.
"This new development is highly troubling -- it appears Iran is determined to remove any chance of the American pastor receiving any semblance of a fair trial. Even more troubling is that the U.S. government has remained silent, essentially abandoning this American in his search for justice," Jordan Sekulow, Executive Director of the American Center for Law and Justice, said in a report shared with The Christian Post. The ACLJ is representing Pastor Saeed Abedini's family in the U.S.
Abedini, 32, grew up in Iran, before converting to Christianity at the age of 20, and marrying an American woman in 2002, which helped him gain U.S. citizenship. Along with his wife, Naghmeh, and their two young children, the pastor has traveled back and forth between Iran and the U.S. a number of times in the past few years, helping create a network of underground churches, which provide a safe haven for Muslims who have converted to Christianity. more >>
Iranian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani was re-released from prison on Monday, Jan. 7, after authorities surprisingly arrested him on Christmas Day and forced the evangelical Christian minister to spend the holidays behind bars.
Pastor Nadarkhani was forced to go back to Lakan Prison in Rasht on Dec. 25, apparently to serve the remainder of his sentence, another 40 days, and to complete paperwork that authorities say he had not filled out.
Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) confirmed the news of the pastor's release to The Christian Post, but a representative said the organization was not certain why prison officials decided to release Nadharkhani before he served the full 40 days. more >>
Iranian Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani was taken back to prison on Christmas Day allegedly because of improperly completed paperwork, multiple sources have said, denying him the chance to celebrate the birth of Christ at home with his family.
Persecution watchdog groups Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) and Present Truth Ministries both reported the news, saying that pastor Nadarkhani has had to go back to Lakan Prison in Rasht to serve the remainder of his time in prison, another 40 days, and to complete paperwork that authorities say he had not filled out.
"We are disappointed to hear Pastor Nadarkhani has been returned to prison in such an irregular manner," said Mervyn Thomas, CSW's Chief Executive. more >>