Iran Sentences American Pastor to 8 Years in Prison(Monday, January 28, 2013)
Christian pastor Saeed Abedini, an American imprisoned in Iran on charges of evangelizing, was sentenced Sunday morning to eight years in prison.
Abedini was verbally sentenced in Tehran by Judge Pir-Abassi, known as the "hanging judge," to eight years in prison for threatening the national security of Iran through his leadership in Christian house churches. He will serve the time in Iran’s notorious Evin Prison, known as one of the most brutal.
Earlier this month, Iran’s semi-official news agency, ISNA, quoted Abedini’s attorney, Nasser Sarbazi, as saying his client stood trial in the Revolutionary Court on charges of attempting to undermine state security by creating a network of Christian churches in private homes.
The pastor, who is of Iranian origin but lives in Boise, Idaho, has rejected the charges.
Although the U.S. does not have diplomatic relations with Iran, National Security Council spokesperson Bernadette Meehan said in a statement Sunday the 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." Meehan added that the State Department remains in close contact with Abedini.
(Sources: Fox News, CBS News, Jerusalem Post)
As the Lord leads, please pray:
- For the appeals that will be made on Pastor Abedini’s behalf - whether by his attorneys or by the State Department - for his release.
- For Pastor Abedini to have the courage of the Apostle Paul as he witnesses to his jailers. (Acts 16:11-40)
- For the pastor’s family and friends, including the Christians in Iran in whose homes he ministered.