Family: Tehran Imprisoned US-Iranian Pastor

Saeed Abedini has not been notified of formal charges

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Dec 19, 2012 3:59 PM CST

(Newser) – The Rev. Saeed Abedini was born in Iran but is now a US citizen—and on his most recent visit to family still in Iran, he was imprisoned without being notified of any formal charges, reports Fox News. The 32-year-old has been prevented from returning home to his wife and two children for months. Abedini, a convert to Christianity, spent years as a leader in Iran's Christian community, organizing underground churches and handing out Bibles on the streets. When he was pulled off a bus by the Revolutionary Guard earlier this year, he was reportedly told he'd now have to pay for that work. His wife and lawyers told Abedini's story to Fox in an effort to start a media campaign to free him.

Abedini converted to Christianity after being recruited for suicide bomber training, which severely depressed him, and he left Iran in 2005 after facing persecution. He was detained and interrogated on his first return visit in 2009, and released only upon agreeing not to take part in any church activities during future visits. His attorneys say he abided by that, and was doing only humanitarian work. Even so, he was detained and placed under house arrest, his passport confiscated; weeks later, in September, he was taken to Evin Prison, where he has been beaten and denied access to a lawyer, to await trial, his wife says. The rest of his family in Iran was placed under house arrest at the same time. The Iranian government has been unresponsive to his American family, who is now being assisted by the American Center for Law and Justice.

  (Shutterstock)
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When he became a Christian, he became a criminal in his own country. ... They see the underground churches as a threat and they see Christianity as a tool from the West to undermine them. - Naghmeh Abedini, Saeed's wife

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