Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Appeal will be launched for Convicted American Pastor, sentenced to eight years in Prison in Iran

By Dan Wooding
Founder of ASSIST Ministries

The pastor with his family during happier times
TEHRAN, IRAN (ANS) -- Naghmeh Abedini, the wife of U.S. pastor, Saeed Abedini, who has been sentenced to eight years in an Iranian prison for his Christian activities, has revealed that there will be an appeal against the sentence.

Speaking with Mohabat News (www.mohabatnews.com), the Iranian Christian News Agency, she said, "Saeed's lawyer will appeal the court ruling within the given twenty days. We hope that the high court will overturn the verdict."
According to Mohabat News, in his interview with the ISNA's legal reporter, Mr. Naser Sarbazi, Pastor Abedini's attorney said, "I was called to branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court on Sunday and received the court's verdict. Of course, my client, Saeed Abedini, was also brought to the courtroom and was informed of the verdict at the same time.

The lawyer added, "My client was sentenced to eight years in prison for planting house churches that are intended to undermine national security."

Regarding his release, the lawyer for the 32 year-old pastor, Mr. Sarbazi said, "The submitted bail for my client's release has not been approved yet and I am still in the process of pursuing it."

After Pastor Abedini's trial, his lawyer had indicated that according to some comments the pastor would be released in a matter of days and would have no problem leaving the country.

Regarding this statement, Naghmeh Abedini told Mohabat News that the lawyer's remarks concerning Mr. Abedini's release were "just a game to keep the international media quiet."

She had also said that it seems the lawyer was asked to make these statements concerning Pastor Abedini's release.

Mohabat News stated that the Iranian judicial authorities promised the pastor's family numerous times to release him on bail. However, they have refused to release him each time.

They had earlier demanded 400 million Tomans (roughly $330,000 USD) bail for Mr. Abedini's release.

According to reports, Pastor Abedini had been transferred to public ward 3, hall 1, of the notorious Evin Prison the day before and will be now be permitted visits from family members.

Pastor Abedini's trial was held without public access to the courtroom, in branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court in Tehran and judged by Mr. Pir-Abbasi. As a Fox News report says, Mr. Pir-Abbasi has been sanctioned many times by the European Union for his court actions and sentences.

During the hearing, Pastor Abedini's charges were announced as "creating house-churches aimed to undermine national security and conspiring to commit crime".

Pastor Abedini was arrested during this trip to Iran to "visit his family and continue efforts to establish an orphanage in Iran". He has been in Evin Prison since September 26, 2012. After his arrest, his wife had said, "When he became a Christian, the Islamic regime considered him a criminal in his own country."

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