A Tehran court on Sunday sentenced an Iranian-American pastor to eight years in prison over his role in underground churches in the Islamic nation, a US group supporting him said.
Saeed Abedini, a naturalised US citizen who converted to Christianity, was convicted of threatening Iran’s national security over underground church activities a decade ago, according to the American Center for Law and Justice.
The Washington-based conservative legal advocacy group said Abedini and his lawyer were only allowed to attend one day of the trial, which began on January 21. There was no immediate confirmation of the verdict in Tehran.
“I am devastated for my husband and my family. We must now pursue every effort, turn every rock, and not stop until Saeed is safely on American soil,” Naghmeh, his wife and mother of their two children, said in a statement.
She described as “psychological torture” an account from Iran at the start of the trial that Abedini would be released on bail.
Jordan Sekulow, executive director of the American Center for Law and Justice, said that a revolutionary court judge seen as close to Iran’s clerical leadership handed down the verdict verbally, not in written form as required.
“Iran has not only abused its own laws, it has trampled on the fundamentals of human rights. We call on the citizens of the world to rise up in protest,” he said.