By the CNN staff
(CNN) - An Iranian judge has sentenced an American Christian pastor to eight years in prison after he was tried for his religious beliefs, a U.S.-based religious group said Sunday.
Saeed Abedini was swiftly sentenced by a member of the Islamic Republic's Revolutionary Court, according to the American Center for Law and Justice, an organization founded by television evangelist Pat Robertson.
CNN was not immediately able to confirm what went on in the court proceedings.
Abedini, who was born in Iran and now lives in Idaho, has been jailed in Iran since September, the group said.
"This is a real travesty - a mockery of justice," said Jordan Sekulow, executive director of the ACLJ, in a statement. "From the very beginning, Iranian authorities have lied about all aspects of this case, even releasing rumors of his expected release."
"Iran has not only abused its own laws, it has trampled on the fundamentals of human rights," added Sekulow, who represents Abedini's wife and children, who are in the U.S. "We call on the citizens of the world to rise up in protest. We call on governments around the world to stand and defend Pastor Saeed."
Abedini's trial began Monday when he and his attorney appeared in a Revolutionary Guard Court to address charges of attempting to undermine the Iranian government, the center said. His attorney apparently was shut out of some proceedings.
"We condemn Iran's continued violation of the universal right of freedom of religion and we call on the Iranian authorities to respect Mr. Abedini's human rights and release him," U.S. State Department spokesman Darby Holladay said in written statement.
The group contends that charges stem from Abedini's conversion to Christianity from Islam 13 years ago and his activities with home churches in Iran.
On Monday, the pastor gave the judge a written statement and was questioned by prosecutors and his defense lawyer, whom he met for the first time that day.
The judge in the case has faced sanctions by the European Union "because of his harsh sentences for those on trial for exercising a fundamental human right," the center said.
Naghmeh Abedini, the pastor's wife, said last week that a few laymen with the Christian church in Iran told her husband's attorney that they had been called to testify in the case.
She said that when she last spoke with her husband on January 9, he was resigned to a fate of remaining in prison.
The Iranian state-run news agency ISNA reported Monday that the pastor would soon be released on bail - which Naghmeh Abedini charged Tuesday was "clearly a lie."
Saeed Abedini has been arrested nearly 10 times in the past by the Iranian authorities, his wife said. The last time he had been held was in 2009, when he agreed to stop supporting home churches. He has taken nine trips to Iran, where he was born and where his parents live, since then.
His wife said he felt that it was safe to go back repeatedly because he had had no dealings with the authorities since he promised to stop working with Christian home services.
Once he even went with his wife and two children. He and Naghmeh are both converts to Christianity from Islam, and they received threats during the most recent family visit, so she took the children home. He returned to their home in Boise, Idaho, later.
Last summer, the pastor was on a bus that was crossing from Turkey into Iran. Immigration officials took away his passport and he was later put under house arrest. In September he was jailed, in the notorious Evin prison, while he awaited trial.
ISLAM IS SATANS RELIGION!!! The supression of Women, the de-evolution of human rights. "Matars" who blow themselves up for absolutley no reason and slaughter innocents. PLEASE. Gimme a break muslims. You are worshipping SATAN.
No, actually Satanism is the devils religion.
C'mon man. Do some research.
What the fvck are 'Matars'?
Christianity has also done a pretty good job of subjugating women. They are trying to pass laws that deny me the right to make decisions about my own body.
Read the bible for plenty of other examples.
"Matars"? Like "Tow-matar" in the Cars movie?
Think that was 'maters'.
boringagain: christians do a good job of denying human rights. think of gays and the right to marry
AARON what you posted is hillarious. Just because he is not out of this yet does not dis-prove GOD. Nowhere in the christian bible does it say that if you accept Christ & become a follower of God that bad things will not happen to you. Jesus himself lived a life of sorrows, utter sorrows. He was tortured for 3 days straight and murdered viciously. He was the son of God. So your comments are erroneous and compeltely prove that as a non-believer you have absolutley no idea as to what you are talking about.
It says that stuff in your myth book.
It is still a book of myths, legends and lies..
Its a book of fairy tales.
Right! If a deity is unwilling to help its proxy through tough times, what hope would anyone else have?
He was tortured for 3 days straight and murdered viciously.
Jeebus was arrested the night before his trial and crucifixion. He was not "tortured for 3 days straight". You fundies don't even know the basics of your own myths.
This proves that as a believer, you have no idea what you're talking about.
@bornagain: the only thing this proves is that you do not know what proof is. The concept completely escapes you.
He left Iran over his beliefs, then goes back to try to change them to his new beliefs? He knew the law but CHOSE to fly half way around the world so he could BREAK their laws (This is his own stupidity) he could have been sentenced to death. Becoming an American does not make you safe from other countries laws. Had he started practicing Shari law here he would be in jail here.
8 years in a iranian hell hole for trying to build an orphanage and loving christ. Proves that Islam is Satan's religion. This judge will one day have to stand in front of the almighty God. (not the muslims God because that is SATAN) and explain why he gave himself the authority to Judge a fellow man and basically give him a death sentence for doing nothing but GOOD. Islam is so incredibly satanic it is not even funny. What other book tells you that if you blow yourself up & slaughter innocent human beings you get heaven? RIGHT!!!
It proves nothing more than he is an idiot for violating the law.
No Satan, no God. Just stupid medieval rival superstitions.
Ya, building a temple dungeon of hinduism, spy net work on name of truth absolute GOD, deserves nothing less than, his hinduism, criminality, death. He got a better deal for his hinduism, criminality.
So their book says to kill a few and you get in a tizzy, your book says your deity murdered the world and you get all dreamy-eyed wishing you could be like that.
What other book tells you that if you blow yourself up & slaughter innocent human beings you get heaven? RIGHT!!!
Um, the bible?
Heh, that made me chuckle.
If he is an American than he is guilty regardless. It's the Iranian way. They make their laws based on religion and still can't get it right. I don't give a crap about Allah cause they know he has not helped them in any way or form. Their fake god has only brought them war, hate, whether its against the Infidels or even against their own brothers and sisters.
I meant they dont care about Allah ... well i dont give a crap about THEIR ALLAH. FAKE A$$ GOD.
Saying fake god is redundant.
Christianity has a history of the same things you are now accusing Islam of having. Please read about what happened to native peoples throughout history and see what happened when Christianity was forced on them, nothing good.
People are people no matter what religion and they have tendency to hurt others in their quest for power and religion is power. You seem very strong in your belief system, however you also have a lot of anger against others who don't share your view.
Well so much for Ahmadinejad's claim that Iran respects other religions. No wonder the Christian minority in Iran is getting smaller and smaller.
Well, that's what can happen when your religion is your government....no room for opinion or thought. We should remember that here as the religous right screams for our salvation through trying to force their dogma into law.
Believe in your religion all you want to, but don't lose sight of survival instincts. No way, would I go to a KKK meeting
dressed as a Hippie yelling quotes from MLK without guessing what might happen.
If a guy is a true believer then he won't fear any man, government or any punishment.
That said, I always liked the saying that 'God helps those that helps themselves'
ie.. don't pray for your crops to grow, go fertilize them
don't go somewhere that will imprison you for your beliefs, let em be and stay out of that hell hole
This is why we have seperation of religion and law. American taliban christians need to keep thier beliefs to themselves, wackos. Thats religious freedom.
Hey religious tards ...just think about this issue in this way:
You get to tell those poor muslims that will only spend 8 years in jail for converting to the correct religion. It used to be a beheading. Doesn't that reassure you now that you are less stupid than those muslims now?
Such judgment among mere mortal men.
Speak for yourself, mere mortal. I am an exceptional man.
He begged for this. Now wear it!
no one will do anything. american and other white christians do not care about people of color and will do nothing for this man. watch.
I wouldn't help him because he is an idiot. He deserves the punishment for breaking the law.
You have issues that make you mean. Taking it out on strangers will never help you. I hope someday you will not harm someone because of your issues.
Probably not. Can't say I feel sorry for someone travelling to Iran and doing things that those psychos hate.
Now that was a stupid comment...
no many wives for those judges in heaven. Just osama
good one. keep them coming.
This is a travesty! This man does not belong in jail. He was preaching the word of God. May God protect him and keep him during this horrible time. God bless.
He violated the law of the country he went to.
He deserves his punishment for being an idiot, if for nothing else.
Amen Jen! You speak the truth!!!!!
May God protect him and keep him during this horrible time.
Why didn't god protect him before his arrest? Didn't his children pray hard enough?
god doesn't exist you moron. evident by god not helping him. of course im sure you have some rationalization for god not helping him that will further your belief. religion is a joke, all religions.
no, he deserves worst than whhat he got, he was preaching hinduism illegality of hindu Magi s, filthy crooks, by using name of truth absolute GOD, he deserves nothing less than worst for his hinduism criminality against humanity and truth absolute GOD.
how exactly is this a "travesty"???
how typical – xians feel as if they're above the law – then when they get busted.... it's a travesty of justice and they're being persecuted.
*shaking head slowly*
Sovereign countries get to decide what is and is not law for themselves. If they decide that all people should not wear blue, they can do that. For the same reason, in certain countries women must wear certain attire (men too). If you break the law of that country, you are subject to their punishments.
If some god wants to provide some magical protection or loose prison doors and blind guards or make his follower invisible, he is welcome to intervene.
Good grief. I have an opinion. Name calling is juvenile and shows your maturity. I choose to believe in God, I also respect those who don't.
You just don't respect other countries laws.
Golly gee, I sure wish I could break every law with no fear of reprisal.
If you want to be in an Arab nation preaching the gospel of Christ, EXPECT TO GO TO JAIL! Sorry, but no sympathy from me. He knew the risk and thumbed his nose at it. Do your time and write a book.
Smacko: The apostle Paul knew the risk while preaching in Rome but it didn't stop him did it! This man should be an example for all of us to follow! Remember the great Martin Luther King was jailed also Smacko, yet he is now sitting at the right hand of Christ!
Remember the great Martin Luther King was jailed also Smacko, yet he is now sitting at the right hand of Christ!
Martin Luther King, Jr. was jailed for promoting civil rights, not for religious reasons. And he's in the same place all dead people are, dissipating back into the cosmos.
Thanks for the clarifications bet, very useful to the discussion.
One has to be a hindu ignorant to believe in hindu filthy Jaundice of hindu crook Paul. hindu Paul, who lied on name of truth absolute GOD. recorded in book of hindu Mitha ism, filthy savior ism called bible.. Way of followers of hindu Mithraism, filthy savior ism. Christianity to make hind, filth, some thing of holy nature.
and your hind was right with him, hindu crook followers of hindu Mithra ism, filthy savior ism Christianity, hindus, fabricators of hindu fabricated stories to hind fool humanity in to hinduism, racism, to be hind gentile filthy slaves of hindu Jews, filthy secular s.
@ sammy sam
No problem, sweetie.
peter bishop... please... goto iran and pick up where saeed abedini left off. get up there on the front line, boy!!
onward xian soldier!!!
get out of Iran
....and don't go back
never going back, turn to stone.
Hey I want to go camping in Afganistan or hiking in North Korea and maybe fishing in Somalia. Wheres the State Department protecting me when I am on these adventures. Oh by the way there is a website that has travel advisories put up by the U.S. government. I suggest some of these idiots read it..............my answer from the government should be tough S..t
The Holy Spirit will comfort him and Christ will crush his enemies and God will save and avenge this man, who like St.Paul is in chains for believing in God. The Government of Iran is the satanic system, their condemnation is hanging over them. Btw the comments here are beyond belief. Instead of solidarity you allow Satan to triumph...but Jesus defeated him long ago. Pray for this man...I'm on my way to Church my legal right a right he does not enjoy. God save him.
I'm with you Albert!!
It makes two of you hindu's, ignorant s.
God save him.
"God" doesn't seem to be paying attention. Couldn't god have prevented his arrest? Maybe god will cause an earthquake and open the jail doors like he did for Paul.
No Albert: Jesus Christ lives. He is kind, gentle. Heaven is a nice place. Many of gone to Heaven and come back like I have. The first time I spoke with Jesus, he was standing on top of a stairway to heaven. I did not actually see him though, but he called me by name. "Bob come to heaven." I did not know who Jesus was, and why I would want to go to heaven with him, so I passed off his request with "Can I stay here and tell them about you?" He said: "okayyyyyy." After 24 years, I can say with absolute certainty, that Jesus is a kind, nice person. Heaven is a nice place, with eternal love, happiness, friendship, family, marriage,peace, forgiveness, and even eternal progression. Says Jesus
Where you are, do they have a lot of people in white coats, shirts with extra extra long sleaves.
It's time for your meds.
The first time I spoke with Jesus, he was standing on top of a stairway to heaven.
That happened to me too! I always thought it was the result of listening to Led Zeppelin and smoking some righteous weed though.
Keep praying but it will do you no good. This man broke the law of a very strict nation. End of story. What more would you expect from Iran.
@Bet: lol. I've been on that Stairway to Heaven myself...
Plant 1:16-20 "And if you listen very hard
The tune will come to you at last.
When all is one and one is all
To be a rock and not to roll."
Do not Bogart the ceremonial incense...
Right said Albert,punishing abedini is death of IRAN,If anybody believing god sure dont have a right to punish him without
reason .o.h GOD deliver him from all evils.
The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.