BERLIN – Iran’s “hanging judge” convicted and sentenced American-Iranian Pastor Saeed Abedini on Sunday to eight years in Evin Prison because of his Christian faith.

Jordan Sekulow, executive director of the Washington-based American Center for Law and Justice, informed The Jerusalem Post on Sunday of the conviction. His organization represents Abedini’s family in the US and is working to secure his release.

Judge Pir-Abassi, whose reputation as Tehran’s “hanging judge,” prompted the European Union to sanction him for human rights violations, orally sentenced Abedini to eight years in prison for threatening the national security of the Islamic Republic because of his leadership role in Iran’s Christian house church community.

Sekulow wrote “the evidence provided was of Pastor Saeed [Abedini]’s Christian activities primarily during the early 2000s, when under then-president [Mohammad] Khatami house churches were not perceived as a threat to Iran. Despite Iranian law requiring a written verdict, none was given.

“Here’s the troubling reality,” he continued, “a US citizen who has been beaten and tortured since his imprisonment last fall, is now facing eight years in Evin Prison, one of the most brutal prisons in Iran.”

Abedini’s wife, Naghmeh, was quoted on ACLJ’s website saying, “The promise of his release was a lie. We should not trust the empty words or promises put out by the Iranian government. These false hopes amount to psychological torture. You don’t want to trust them, but they build a glimmer of hope before the crushing blow.

“With today’s development I am devastated for my husband and my family. We must now pursue every effort, overturn every rock, and not stop until Saeed is safely on American soil.”

Naghmeh and her two children live in Idaho.

Sekulow has called on the international community to demand Saeed’s release.

“Iran has not only abused its own laws, it has trampled on the fundamentals of human rights,” he said.

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