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Tehran upholds 8-year jail term for US-Iranian pastor

Iran has targeted converted former Muslims despite the recognition in the constitution of the rights of several religious minorities including Christians

AFP , Monday 26 Aug 2013
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A Tehran appeals court upheld an eight-year prison sentence against an American-Iranian pastor jailed for his role in establishing underground churches in Iran, his lawyer told ISNA news agency Monday.

Saeed Abedini, a naturalised US citizen who converted from Islam to Christianity, was handed the sentence in January.

"The Tehran appeals court... confirmed the verdict. As a consequence, the sentence of eight years in prison is definitive from now on," Abedini's Iran-based lawyer Nasser Sarbazi said.

In March, UN Secretary of State John Kerry demanded Abedini's release after he was sentenced to eight years in prison for "creating a private church in his house" and "harming national security".

Abedini's supporters said that he led underground churches in Iran in the early 2000s when such activity was largely tolerated during the pro-reform presidency of Mohammad Khatami.

Having resettled in the United States, Abedini was detained on a return trip to Iran in 2009 and was let go following an agreement not to engage in underground religious activities, according to his family.

Naghmeh Abedini said that her husband complied with the 2009 agreement and had returned to Iran as part of efforts to build an orphanage.

Iran's constitution following the 1979 Islamic revolution recognises the rights of several religious minorities including Christians, but the regime has targeted converted former Muslims.

The confirmation of the verdict coincided with a visit to Tehran by Oman's Sultan Qaboos, who has acted as an intermediary between Iran and the Washington to free several US nationals jailed in iran, and Iranians held in the US.

Washington and Tehran cut diplomatic ties in 1980, after the Islamic revolution, and Switzerland has acted as a mediator between the two countries since.

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Tricia
27-08-2013 06:25am
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God is love, the Truth, the life/light and the way
U are punishing a man because he is showing how God loves and heals the broken! I would be dead by now with the destruction I lived if it weren't for God's love, forgivness,n saving grace! God is bigger n He will rise up n we as children of God will unite
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Cathy
27-08-2013 04:57am
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Unreasonable charges!
This is an outrage! He is being held illegally since he DID comply with the original orders! Something must be done to detain the officials that have unreasonably jailed this innocent man!
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Jim Seward
27-08-2013 02:51am
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Facebook group prays and encourages Saeed's wife
a facebook page "Praying for American pastor Saeed Abedini" is one where you can be reminded to pray...support through uplifting biblical truths...pray on
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Margaret Huss
26-08-2013 06:42pm
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can Saeed receive mail from U.S. supporters
Will the Iranian government allow Saeed and/or his wife, Naghmeh receive mail from U.S. citizens? If allowable, how would we address the mail for it to reach him? Thank you for your help.
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Jim Seward
27-08-2013 02:49am
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Evin Prison Address
Saeed Abedini Evin Prison Saadat Abad Tehran, Iran
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barbara beall mauri
26-08-2013 06:00pm
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Bless this dear pastor and his family We pray that he will be released sooner!
while I am sad about this ,in a lifetime ,it might not be a terrible sentence.
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Randy
27-08-2013 12:30am
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It is terrible
This IS a horrible sentence, no matter how long... He is being tortured in the prison that he is at...
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