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American Pastor Imprisoned Without Notice of Charges While Visiting Family in Iran

  • Religion Today
  • Updated Jan 25, 2013
American Pastor Imprisoned Without Notice of Charges While Visiting Family in Iran

Photo courtesy ACLJ

A 32-year-old Iranian who is a U.S. citizen and a Christian convert has been imprisoned without notice of any formal charges while visiting his family in Iran, Fox News reports. In July, the Rev. Saeed Abedini, who lives in the U.S. with his wife and two young children, was making one of his frequent trips to visit his parents and relatives in Iran, his home country where he spent many years as a Christian leader and developer of Iran's underground house church movement for Christian converts from Islam. The Iranian government pulled him off a bus, confiscated his passports and subjected him to intense interrogation, saying he must face a penalty for his previous work as a Christian leader in Iran. He is currently awaiting trial in Iran's notorious Evin Prison, where he has been since late September, and his family members -- who are also Christian converts from Islam -- are under house arrest. Two days before Abedini was thrown in prison, his wife, Naghmeh, received a call from someone she thinks was an Iranian government agent threatening that she would never see her husband again. "When he became a Christian, he became a criminal in his own country," Naghmeh said. The American Center for Law and Justice is providing legal support to Naghmeh by working through the U.S. government, members of Congress, various governments around the world, and leaders in the U.N. to help release Abedini. Over the course of Abedini's involvement, his house church movement had about 100 congregations in 30 Iranian cities with more than 2,000 members.