The U.S. State Department and the White House finally called on Iran to release Pastor Saeed Abedini, a U.S. citizen facing a possible death sentence for his faith. The pastor's wife and senators and representatives had said the State Department wasn't doing enough.
"We condemn Iran's continued violation of the universal rights of freedom of religion, and we call on the Iranian authorities to respect Mr. Abedini's human rights and to release him," Department of State Spokesperson Victoria Nuland said during the daily news briefing at the State Department on Friday.
Abedini's attorney had only one day to present his defense, Nuland said on his trial, which began Monday. "And we remain deeply concerned about the fairness and the transparency of his trial. We are in close contact with his family as well and we're actively engaged in the case." more >>
Alarming news over the trial of American Pastor Saeed Abedini in Iran has emerged, with his family sharing that he has been removed from Evin Prison without Iranian authorities disclosing his whereabouts.
After two days of trial, Judge Pir-Abassi, a notorious "hanging" judge in Iran, apparently told Pastor Abedini's lawyer, Dr. Naser Sarbazi, that he would see to the pastor being moved from his current ward in Evin Prison in Tehran to another ward, where he would receive better medical treatment.
When his family attempted to visit him on Thursday at the prison, however, Iranian guards told them that he was not there. His present location remains undisclosed, Jordan Sekulow, Executive Director of the ACLJ, said in a statement. The law group is currently representing Abedini's two children and wife, Naghmeh Abedini, who he married after converting to Christianity in 2000. more >>
On day two of American Pastor Saeed Abedini's trial in Iran, news has emerged that the Iranian-born pastor has not even been allowed to attend the day's proceedings.
"It's unlike any judicial system in the world," Jordan Sekulow, Executive Director of the ACLJ, said in a press release shared with The Christian Post on Tuesday.
"Pastor Saeed and his attorney were shut out of today's proceedings. Not permitted to attend his own trial. We have been told that the court summoned other pastors to testify today. We do not yet know what was said in court, but we do know that the Iranian government often uses threats and intimidation to get the testimony it wants," Sekulow added. more >>
American Pastor Saeed Abedini has not been freed on bail and remains facing trial and possibly the death penalty in Iran, according to a statement by his wife released on the first day of his trial.
"This is all a lie by the Iranian media," Naghmeh Abedini shared in a statement to the American Center for Law and Justice, who are representing the pastor's wife and two children in the United States. The group confirmed that contrary to an Associate Press report that says Iranian authorities have claimed that the pastor has been released, Abedini remains in Evin Prison in Tehran.
"This has been a repeated promise by the Iranian regime since Saeed was first thrown in prison on September 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. This is a game to silence the international media," Naghmeh Abedini explained. more >>
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 >>