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Report: Iran Sentences American Pastor to 8 Years in Prison

Saeed Abedini, seen with his family prior to his July 2012 capture. (Image source: Fox News)

Saeed Abedini, seen with his family in this undated photo, has reportedly been sentenced to eight years in an Iranian prison. (Image source: Fox News)

An American Christian pastor has reportedly been sentenced to eight years in prison in Iran on charges of evangelizing, Fox News reported Sunday morning.

According to information from the American Center for Law and Justice, pastor Saeed Abedini was sentenced by Judge Pir-Abassi -- known as the "hanging judge" -- for "threatening the national security of Iran through his leadership in Christian house churches." Abedini will serve his sentence in Iran’s notorious brutal Evin Prison.

Fox News reported:

The evidence, the ACLJ reports, was based on Abedini’s activities primarily during the early 2000s, when house churches were not considered a threat in Iran.

Iran's state news agency reported Monday that Abedini, who was born in Iran but now lives in Idaho, would soon be free. But the report, which came on the first day of Abedini's trial, was seen by Abedini's wife, Naghmeh, as just another cruel manipulation.

“This is all a lie by the Iranian media," Naghmeh Abedini said. "This has been a repeated promise by the Iranian regime since Saeed was first thrown in prison on Sept. 26, 2012. We have presented bail. After the judge told Saeed’s lawyer that bail was back on the table, the family in Tehran ran around in circles today to make sure Saeed was let out on bail. But again the bail officer rejected bail."

The 34-year-old father of two, a convert to Christianity, has denied evangelizing in Iran and said he only returned to his home country to help build an orphanage. He was attempting to return to the U.S. in August when members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard pulled him off a bus and detained him.

According to Fox, Abedini has been accused of undermining the Iranian government through the Christian house churches and attempting to encourage Iranian youth to abandon Islam.


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