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.
Muslim nation sends a pastor to jail for being a Christian
Any of you anti-Israeli anti-Christian atheists out there want to remind me again of how the middle east peace problem lies with the nation of Israel?
No doubt you can explain how the US created the intractable hatred that Islam holds for all things Judeo/Christian.
Our skimpy costumes ain't so bad
They seem to entertain your Dad.
Chad, shithead, Israel is not at issue. Iran is holding an American citizen. One of your sort. Perhaps you should find a way of getting him out.
Chad, you must not be praying hard enough.
I most certainly could explain the issue to you, Chad, but since I'm neither "anti-christian" nor "anti-Israel" I will refrain. (Not that you will accept any explanation, no matter how accurate, if it does not align with your a priori beliefs).
Anyone with an ounce of brains can see the problem is clearly with islam.
Can you tell me why you think that people who believe in the Judeo-christian God should be given a free pass when they break a law?
A man broke a law of a sovereign nation and was punished for it. He made his choice. I have no more sympathy for him that I do for drug dealers.
atheists sure change their "religion is the root of all evil"' when the religion under discussion is Islam...
"atheists sure change their "religion is the root of all evil"' when the religion under discussion is Islam...
No, Chad, you are just an unbelievably dense imbecile, and you haven't the grey matter to fathom.
atheists also seem to prefer generalities and name calling..
ALLAH AKBAR = PRAISE SATAN!!!
Allah akbar = God is great
It's nice you see how ridiculous both are.
No its what they say before they saw someones head off.
Right, they say 'god is great' right before they cut off a head, or blow themselves up. Those oh so mysterious ways in which the deity works.
AND THE INFAMOUS ANGELIC CONS CONTINUE TO WREAK STUPIDITY UPON THE WORLD
Joe Smith had his Moroni. (As does M. Romney)
"Latter-day Saints like M. Romney also believe that Michael the Archangel was Adam (the first man) when he was mortal, and Gabriel lived on the earth as Noah."
Jehovah Witnesses have their Jesus /Michael the archangel, the first angelic being created by God;
Mohammed had his Gabriel (this "tin-kerbell" got around).
Jesus and his family had/has Michael, Gabriel, and Satan, the latter being a modern day demon of the demented. (As does BO and his family)(As do Biden and Ryan)
The Abraham-Moses myths had their Angel of Death and other "no-namers" to do their dirty work or other assorted duties.
Contemporary biblical and religious scholars have relegated these "pretty wingie/horn-blowing thingies" to the myth pile. We should do the same to include deleting all references to them in our religious operating manuals. Doing this will eliminate the prophet/profit/prophecy status of these founders and put them where they belong as simple humans just like the rest of us.
See the translation of the above in Persian on p. 1 if you happen to be in Iran.
ترجمه از بالا به زبان فارسی در P را ببینید.1 اگر شما اتفاق می افتد در ایران
i think i have just read the most brilliant piece of reality in my entire life... the stupidity you talk about is very obvious where i live here, it runs through the entire system including the highest centers of education; government justice system ;permeating the very fabric of the social system. here if you don't believe as they do you will be seen as a non conformer, or even a devil's advocate. truth is rare but mecurial and IT TAKES REAL EDUCATION AND THE RIGHT THINKERS TO RECOGNIZE IT.
i think i have just read the most brilliant piece of reality in my entire life... the stupidity you talk about is very obvious where i live here, it runs through the entire system including the highest centers of education; government justice system ;permeating the very fabric of the social system. here if you don't believe as they do you will be seen as a non conformer, or even a devil's advocate. truth is rare but mercurial and IT TAKES REAL EDUCATION AND FROM THE RIGHT THINKERS TO RECOGNIZE IT.
This is the face of islam, brutal, evil, vile and of Satan. This poor man will spend 8 years for just being a Christian. Nothing in this world beats islam for its desire to kill for their vile allah god.
He'll spend 8 years in prison for breaking he law.
Nothing in this world beats islam for its desire to kill for their vile allah god.
Nothing except christianity.
A law that Damocles would love to have in the USA. Iran is a theocracy yet you sound like you support it. So really your hatred is against christians.
A law that Damocles would love to have in the USA.
That's a lie and you know it. He said nothing of the sort. You just love feeling like a martyr and have no problem resorting to lies to make a point.
You'll need to wait until December for Santa, child.
This video below proves how satanic the Islam religion is. Where is your compassion as human beings Muslims? Where is your forgiveness? Where are your pure hearts? Cursing up a storm!!! Each and everyone of you. Look at the christians. Non-violent, passive, loving. MUSLIMS ARE WORSHIPPING SATAN!!!!!
Non-violent christians? Ahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!
"non-violent, passive and loving"
There's a diaper full of poop if I ever smelled one...
bornagain, but with the same deficient brain...
Judging by the typical remarks on CNN I would think most of the people posting here would be in support of what Iran did. Do you remember how hard it was during the DNC Convention to force the name of God into the platform? Then the other day Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat, had the gall to open with a prayer about gun control. No mention from the Leftists about separation of church and state there. Liberal groups fund raised off the killing of those children and used it as political capital to push their agenda yet support and push for abortion clinics in our minority areas where hundreds of thousands of children are killed every year without even being given a name. No gimmick or scheme is too outrageous for a Liberal to try. As for myself i will prey for the man because our State Department is too busy with Muslim outreach to help this suffering American.
God has no political party and he certainly IS NOT a republican!!!
The use of the word 'force' is duly noted.
was it a Freudian slip that Will admits to preying on people?
Oh well. So god has no political party but you know for sure its not those other people. Nice.
Proof is in the pudding. Watch both Conventions again and try to imagine there is a god watching them. Would he like the one denying his name in anger or one that accepts there is a higher being and acts peaceful and reverent?
The books say god will judge each on their own merit, not on their political party or religion.
I can imagine Odin being pretty peeved that no one mentioned him.
Damocles- For someone who hates religion as much as you do, you certainly know alot about it. You use it to support your own notions and bigotry against something you dont believe in. You will accuse others of hatred but love the taste of your own.
I heard that they had to force Batman® to be mentioned at the Superman® shindig, also!
Give the United States,evangelicals another four years at there current pace, enough legal leeway and they to will be sending people to jail for there religious beliefs. Make no mistake, radicals are not just of the Muslim faith. With the hate the evangelicals direct toward the president, the backing of the GOP / Tea Party and fueled by the radio money makers Hannity, Limbaugh and Beck a very similar thing could happen in the USA. The only way to stop this type of behavior is with separation of church and state. In the USA that separation on the side of the GOP is becoming more unclear each and everyday. Just listen to Pat Robertson for 10 minutes.
An American is being held in Iran because he is a Christian and all you can do is blame the tea party and the GOP and vent anti-Christian bile?
Republican right wing conservative evangelicals are Satan's next attempt to take down the USA. Look at Iran, they are one and the same.
An American is being held in Iran because he is a Christian
He is being held because he broke the law. It's not his first dance with the Iranian government, so he knew what he was doing.
Don't travel to Iran.
Enjoy your stay, pastor.
It's Iran. Are we suddenly naive to think they will respect basic human rights?
There's something not right about this story. The reporting is 'off' when you read it. There's more going in this story than what is written here. Tell me if you get that impression too
Not really. It does seem like the subject keeps doing what many readers would not do.
Are your Scottish Spidey sense tingling, flamer?
You probably have some kind of neurological defect.
The things that's off in this article is that it is obvious from the story that this guy was doing evangelical/missionary work in Iran. While ideally he should be allowed to do that in the name of freedom of speech and religion, in practice most Churchs acknowledge that it is useless and dangerous to proseltize in muslim countries. Even the moromons and jehova's witnesses are not permitted by their own organizations to prosletize to muslims. So this guy pretty much had it coming when he started travelling there to do missionary work, and I for one don't feel sorry for him (but I do for his kids).
Well, since this, as every other 'religious' cnn article, has devolved into a 'God-bashing' forum, here's some fuel for the haters. You do realise that atheism IS a religion right?
Perhaps most of you are 'agnostic', but that would require admitting that you dont know everything -quite unlikely.
Atheism is the largest, most ignorant, & most hypocritical religion to ever exist.
You BELIEVE that the universe was created by the 'big bang', despite overwhelming contrary evidence. You BELIEVE that dinosaurs can evolve into birds, fish evolve into man, & all life evolved from magical ooze.
None of this is science as it cannot be observed, repeated, or proven. That is the very definition of a religion.
Any rational person would find christianity, islam, or even voodoo, offer far more believable & logical answers to the fundamental questions of life.
Micro-evolution is a fact based observable science. Macro-evolution is a leap of faith based on lunacy & narcissism. Only faith & delusion can connect the two.
Athiests only like science when it is convienient, & blatently ignore common sense. THAT IS A RELIGION -a wildly ludicrous one at that.
So bad it stinks. Oh poor you.
Boring troll is boring.
Atheism is hindu self center ism, secularism, way of hindu ignorant animals, not human.
None of those accusations even make sense, much less represent that atheist position. Your next stop should be to the mathematicians. Tell them to quit doing all that stupid dividing by orange slices.
You are wrong. The big bang did happen, it is now proven fact. The cause is still in dispute, so as far as your "overwhelming evidence" goes, it doesn't exist.
Secondly atheism is not a religion. That's the same as saying that abstinence is a se xual positon.
You calim the science isn't observable...yes it is . Take off the bible blinders you have on and try reality instead of a book of lies legends and myths.
Post before you pick your nose next time, you got your fingers jammed too far up again.
atheism is simply a lack of belief in god. atheism is not a religion.
beliefs are based on knowledge.
the knowledge people base their beliefs on could be empirical or substantiated "good" knowledge (science)...or beliefs can be based on faulty, unsubstantiated non-knowledge (religion).
religious belief is literally predicate on ignorance. there is no religious theory. there are no testable models... it eschews proof and discourages testing.
religion is constructed on very poor unsubstantiated, unverifiable, erroneous data, and is completely non-supported. there is no evidence to back up or substantiate any of the extraordinary claims made by religion. fortunately for those of you who hold the delusional belief in an imaginary man in the sky – you have this thing called "faith". faith is defined as holding a strong belief in something for which you have no evidence and/or contradictory evidence.
so it's a good thing you have faith – because there's no substantiated evidence of your imaginary man in the sky... and plenty of contradictory evidence.
you can literally believe anything you like or choose... but what evidence do you have to support your belief?
Nah. It's not a religion. Heck, you don't even "know" most atheists.
Myself? The ones that *I* know. What you seem not to realize is that we simply "don't believe". It's not that we are "believers in no God". It's just like we lack a belief in a god...just like we lack a belief in fairies and unicorns and orcs and trolls.
It's more than being an agnostic who "doubts" the existence of god. We literally are absent a belief in god. Period. No religion. No church. No ceremonies or rituals or...well, any of that stuff.
Now, I have to admit that I found your micro/macro-evolution argument illogical. If you were honest, you'd have to admit that the existence of micro-evolution, while certainly not proving the existence of macro-evolution, is far more likely at least a "hint" that macro-evolution *could* exist, rather than it does *not* exist.
If your faith brings you comfort, I think that's great. Unfortunately, you seem to be awfully angry here. Perhaps you ought to fall back on your faith and let the anger go? I mean, it's awfully pointless.
Keep up the good fight. Posting on CNN is like jumping into a huge pit of hate. Just read the average remakes on this story alone and you will understand that the Liberal mind is combative, vindictive, bigoted and arrogant.
"You BELIEVE that the universe was created by the 'big bang', despite overwhelming contrary evidence"
O, really? Tell us, ImbeSaul, what that evidence is? Oh, you can't? Right...
Well, if The Donald sez it, it must be true!
When you have to resort to citing Trump you have given up on rational discourse. Begone!
Seen it and it will have no effect on this bunch. Hating a christian actually puts Liberals closer to the Muslims than the Christians so dont expect any sympathy from the Leftists. This is a feel good story for them.
Nonsense, William. We are all subject to the law of the land, no matter our religion. I have no desire to watch the story, but I hope all those who have committed crimes are caught and punished to the full extent of the law. Stop pretending that you have greater virtue than anyone else because of your beliefs. The only one you fool is yourself.
No not greater virtue. Please read the remarks on here about a man being thrown into prison for being a Christian. Is religious intolerance acceptable in todays Leftist world? I dont care if the man was a Hindu, he is an American being thrown into prison for his religion. Yet all these Americans on here post good riddance and take it as a feel good story. Virtue? What virtue?
Did you ever consider that the comments are being made because of the peculiar arrogance of christians? This man went into a nation that is hostile to Americans and christians and knowingly committed a crime. This act was selfish and foolish and potentially damaging to other Americans, should the Iranians seek to provoke more incidents. Why should this man be treated with any respect at all? He made his choice, and now he will have to live with the consequences.
IF you go to IRAN, you are a complete moron.
More christians should go to Iran. Go do your god's work. Hallelujah.
Thank you, Jimmy Carter!
Hey Answer, talk the talk, walk the walk.
===Quote a quote quote unquote.
answer: if that is the case, they should celebrate being punished. after all, they are doing "god's work"
by the way, why does an omnipotent god need man to do his work?
God has always relied on man to do his work. God can't travel without human help, and certainly can't cross oceans. Things called "miraculous" often are the result of human endeavor. You have to wonder exactly how powerful this god is, since humans do all the real work. But I guess god is saving all his power so that he can take care of humanity (conveniently) after we die. That way, there's no way to prove that he's real or not.
Just don't belong to any religion. You can have a relationship with your god, prophet, whoever, and not be part of any organized religion. Organized religions have agendas, and one aspect is to recruit members even if from other religions. So even if they're not pressing for hardline rules (i.e., intolerance and suppression of human rights... and all religions do it), they're still stepping on toes.
He was just visiting family in Iran.
Willy, you were there?
End Religion- He was there organizing an orphanage being set up by churches. Iran claims he was preaching back in the early 2000's and threw him in prison. Here is a snippet from the AP- "According to the American Center for Law and Justice, Abedini was verbally sentenced in Tehran by Judge Pir-Abassi, known as the “hanging judge,” to eight years in prison for threatening the national security of Iran through his leadership in Christian house churches. He will serve the time in Iran’s notorious Evin Prison, known as one of the most brutal."
Do you believe that being a Christian, or believing any religion, is a threat to National Security?
The Iranian government is little more than an organized terrorist cell. The day of reckoning is coming from that b@$t@rd "president" and the rest of his sorry @$$ friends.
Go tell them the date.
Why put up with this shit? We have never been a Christian nation, but we sure as hell should never let butt-fucking Iranian Muslims put a hand on our citizens.
Really? Even when one of our citizens is stupid enough to think our freedoms would be respected in a country like that? I think not. He rolled the dice and lost. Another instance where religion makes you lose common sense.
I'm laughing at this m0r0n and his asinine beliefs that got him where he is today.
It's certainly possible that radical Islam could take over the world. You'll have to stand by that post just as I will have to stand by mine declaring atheism and other nastiness about the "prophet."
Maybe because our current leadership is sympathetic to them . . .
hinduism sodomy is a holy tradition of hindus, deniers of truth absolute, hinduism incest an hindu filthy hinduism sodomy was always practiced by Mithra s, saviors, Christ's of hindu dark ages to show their power over others and bless the weak ones, such as hind abuse of Nero by his uncle, drove him to mate his mother in following of holy tradition of hinduism, incest.
Mark – right on. This moron got exactly what he deserved. Preach on in prison about your invisible friend in the sky to morons who believe in a different invisible friend. Bye bye idiot.
Not much comment from our beloved State Department under the capable & effective hands of the equally beloved 'Hillary'! We've had other Nations represent us in the past, why hasn't that been done now? Oh well, WHAT DOES IT MATTER...??
What just about everyone fails to understand is that this guy probably has not nor could not renounce his Iranian citizenship. As far as Iran is concerned he's one of theirs. Let this be a lesson to dual citizenship holders. Waving a blue passport does not mean the Calvary will come charging to bail you out of jail. Even non dual citizens are the subject of the local judicial system. This guy knew better and took his chance.
Calvary? Jesus could come down off his cross and help the poor fellow, I suppose. Me, I prefer cavalry. More dependable. I like the ones who tattoo "We Will Not Fail" on themselves.
Imagine if the powers of darkness in Iran had imprisoned Lady Gaga, Madonna, or Assange. Then everyone would be screaming. The fact is either you have human rights or you do not. It is time to force the bad governments of the world to respect their citizen's rights.
Well, if it was Madonna, I'd be screaming for joy.
If they imprisoned those three, I'd invite them over to my house for a party.
If Madonna, Lady Gaga and Assange were to enter a sovereign nation and did something illegal, I would feel exactly the same way as I feel about this pastor who foolishly thought he was above the law.
Well, I guess that's what you get for being a christian in a muslim country.
In your response to an earlier post where you referenced his beliefs got him where he is today..... The day of reckoning is coming for you too – I hope you have a very large water bottle.
So you can threaten with hell, but a country can't threaten to punish those that break the law? Strange.
This does seem to be an issue of common sense. Religious people don't realize that they are puppets in a war over money, power and oil, mere puppets!
Actually it's what you get when you fail to abide by an agreement with any government. They didn't kidnap him and drag him across the border.
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.