WASHINGTON, Jan. 27, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), which focuses on constitutional and human rights law, said today's action by an Iranian court convicting and sentencing American Pastor Saeed Abedini for his Christian faith is a travesty that sadly underscores Iran's brazen violation of international law and a tragic reminder that Iran is one of the world's worst offenders of religious freedom.
In an unexpected development in Iran today and without family present, Judge Pir-Abassi of Branch 26 of the Iranian Revolutionary Court – known as the "hanging judge" – verbally convicted and sentenced Pastor Saeed to eight years in prison for threatening the national security of Iran through his leadership in Christian house churches.
"This is a real travesty – a mockery of justice," said Jordan Sekulow, Executive Director of the ACLJ, who represents Pastor Saeed's wife and children living in the U.S. "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. 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."
Pastor Saeed and his attorney were permitted to attend just one day of his trial, which began January 21st. They were barred from attending and participating in further proceedings. During his imprisonment, Pastor Saeed has been beaten and tortured raising serious concerns about his medical condition.Pastor Saeed's conviction and sentence in the Iranian Revolutionary Court had to be approved at the very top – The Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei had to sign off.