Recent news of the January 21 Iranian trial of Christian Pastor Saeed Abedini before a Revolutionary Guard Court lit up social media and religious freedom activists and circles with sheer outrage over his plight and the rampant increase in Iran of persecution of religious minorities. But is religious liberty and these litmus cases a priority for the leader of the free world?
Pastor Abedini did nothing more than convert from Islam to Christianity 13 years ago and begin preaching his message in an underground network of churches in Iran. He then came to the United States and became an American citizen raising his family in Idaho. His family reported that he returned last fall to Iran to start an orphanage and was snatched from a bus by the Iranian regime on Sept. 26, 2012. He was sent to the infamous Evin Prison in Tehran. The regime's bogus claim? He was undermining their authority and national security. Many of the claims from the Iranian State News Agency on this case and others have been proven patently false throughout. Yet there has been little public repudiation from President Obama.
The judge assigned to the case has been sanctioned many times by the European Union for his court actions and sentences. Last week it was even reported that the pastor and his attorney were not allowed to attend their own trial. Sadly, but not surprisingly, Pastor Saeed stands now convicted to eight years in prison in an Iranian gulag. This American citizen, who, like so many of our families came to the U.S. for religious freedom, went back only for charity work and is now jailed, having lost the freedom of his adopted nation.
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