U.S. Pastor Shut Out of Iranian Trial, Unable to Address Charges
Religion TodayReligious persecution, missions, Christianity around the world
- 2013 Jan 23
An American Christian pastor being tried in Iran for his religious beliefs was shut out of his own trial Tuesday, according to the American Center for Law and Justice. Tuesday was the only day for Saeed Abedini to present a defense, but both he and his Iranian attorney were barred from the courtroom as Iranian prosecutors brought testimony against him, attempting to force lay church leaders to testify against him before Iran's infamous "hanging judge." The ACLJ confirmed that one lay church leader was specifically questioned about converting to Christianity and whether Abedini encouraged the conversion, which he did. The court also asked for details on how Abedini -- a naturalized U.S. citizen -- had financed his multiple trips back to Iran to work on establishing an orphanage and whether any foreign funds were used. The judge told the lay leader to expect another summons within a month to return to testify against Abedini, said Abedini's wife, Naghmeh, on Tuesday. She said her husband had told her earlier that he would likely be held in prison "for a long time," and she added: "This testimony ... is further proof that Iran was just trying to silence the media and has no intention of releasing my husband anytime soon. We need to continue exposing Iran's violation of Saeed's human rights until my husband is safely back in my arms."