American pastor’s release unknown

By January 24, 2013

Iran (MNN) — American pastor Saeed Abedini went before a judge in Iran on Monday, January 21.

According to the Iranian Christian News Agency, public access to the courtroom was denied.

Pastor Abedini was charged with “creating house churches aimed to disturb national security and conspiring to commit crime,” as announced by the court.

Abedini’s attorney, Mr. Naser Sarbazi, stated to the ISNA–a pro-regime Web site–that they rejected the charges in court. Mr. Sarbazi reported he was able to make appropriate defenses.

Pastor Abedini “referred to the Bible, stressing that he had merely done his spiritual tasks and that he had never been involved in political activities. He said what he has done is simply following his Lord Jesus Christ,” the Iranian Christian News Agency says from news sources.

Mr. Sarbazi’s shared that the court review process is finished and they are expected to release the verdict within a legal time frame, according to the Iranian Christian News Agency.

The attorney hinted at a bail option, based on some comments from court, the Iranian News Agency reported. But Abedini’s wife, Naghmeh, thinks it’s just an empty promise to keep international media quiet.

Other bail attempts have fallen through before. Iranian judicial authorities had set Abedini’s bail at 400 million Tomans (around 330,000 USD) during his time in the notorious Evin Prison.

When Pastor Abedini was brought to prison on September 26, 2012, he was visiting family and allegedly conducting humanitarian work to establish an orphanage in Iran, the Iranian Christian News Agency says.

Abedini was former an Iranian citizen, but he became a Christian and moved to the United States where he married his wife, an American. He obtained American citizenship by default.

The trial was judged by Mr. Pir-Abbasi and held in Branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court in Tehran.

Pray for Pastor Abedini’s release and for him to be an ambassador of Christ to those involved.

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