Iranian-American Pastor Sentenced to 8 Years in Prison

Pastor Abedini SaeedSaeed Abedini, an Iranian-American pastor who has been imprisoned since September for threatening the national security of Iran through his leadership in Christian house churches, was convicted for his “crime” on Sunday and sentenced to eight years in prison.

Pastor Saeed's attorney told the Agence France-Presse that he is pursuing an appeal in Saeed's case. The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), however, says an appeal in Iran’s judicial system “means virtually nothing.”

ACLJ, which is representing Pastor Saeed’s wife and two children, says the best way to free Pastor Saeed is to pressure Iran into releasing him, as was done in the case of Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani.

“For Pastor Saeed, eight years in Evin Prison could very well be a death sentence,” noted Jordan Sekulow, Executive Director of ACLJ. “That's why it is so critical to continue to generate support for him – in this country and around the world – [and to] put pressure on Iran to free him.”

ACLJ is currently circulating a petition to the United Nations, European Union and Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights. Other supporters of Pastor Saeed, including syndicated talk-show host Janet Parshall, are also mobilizing concerned Americans to encourage our new Secretary of State, Sen. John Kerry, to do all he can to release Pastor Saeed.

In a letter Wednesday, NRB President & CEO Dr. Frank Wright asked Secretary Kerry to intervene on Pastor Saeed’s behalf, stating that it is “unconscionable that the Iranian government would violate its own law and international covenants by treating any individual, never mind an American citizen, with such enmity and abuse because of his faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.”

“NRB respectfully asks that the U.S. State Department work for the immediate release of Pastor Saeed Abedini and his safe passage back home to the United States,” Dr. Wright stated.

Sekulow, meanwhile, concluded, “The world is watching. The world must engage. Pastor Saeed's life is at stake.”

Published: January 31, 2013