Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Iran: Pastor Saeed, plus exorbitant bail terms for 5 Christians

Iran sentences American pastor Saeed Abedini t...
Pastor Saeed Abedini & family (Photo: Robert Reed Daly)
IRAN – In emotional testimony on Capitol Hill on March 15, the wife of Pastor Saeed Abedini, a U.S. citizen imprisoned in Iran, told a Congressional hearing that she's "disappointed" with the State Department's lackluster involvement in the case. 

Naghmeh Abedini described how her two young children could not understand what happened to their father, who was sentenced to eight years in prison in January: "They kept saying, 'Does Daddy not love us anymore?' ... And I had to tell them that he was in prison because he loved Jesus." 

The State Department declined to attend the hearing Friday despite being invited. Witnesses said a State Dept desk officer last year told Naghmeh "there is nothing the United States government can do for you." After the hearing, the State Dept. invited Naghmeh and attorney Jay Sekulow to a meeting to help her, but their involvement continues to be gravely disappointing. 

Meanwhile, five imprisoned members of the Church of Iran appeared before a judge in Shiraz on March 10 and received exorbitant bail terms. The five are charged with disturbing public order, evangelizing, action against national security and internet activity against the system. Their trial was expected to commence on March 10, but instead Judge Sadati set bail for Mohammed Roghangir at US$200,000, while the others were asked for US$80,000 each. No date was set for the continuation of the trial. The five Christians were among seven people arrested Oct 12, 2012, in an evening raid by security services on a home holding a prayer service led by Mr. Roghangir.