An Iranian court has reportedly denied an appeal from an imprisoned Boise pastor to have his sentence reduced.
In January, a court ordered 33-year-old Saeed Abedini to spend eight years in prison.
Abedini was arrested in his native Iran last year and charged with compromising the country’s national security. Abedini’s family has said he’d returned to his native Iran to help build an orphanage.
Officials in the U.S. say the denial “signals a new level of concern” for the Christian’s well being. Abedini is being held in Iran’s notorious Evin Prison. His family says he’s been beaten while in custody.
“While we remained hopeful that Iran would use its own appeal process to finally show respect for Pastor Saeed's basic human rights, again Iran has demonstrated an utter disregard for the fundamentals of human rights,” said Jordan Sekulow, Executive Director of the American Center for Law and Justice. The organization is representing the Abedini family in the United States.
Abedini’s wife Naghmeh calls the decision from the 2-judge panel “devastating”. She also criticized the U.S. government for not doing enough to foster her husband’s release.
"I am disappointed that as a country that was founded on religious freedom, our government has been awkwardly silent as an American citizen is wasting away in an Iranian prison because he chose to practice his God-given right to choose his religion. My husband is serving 8 years in the notorious Evin prison and facing daily threats and abuse by radicals because he refuses to deny his Christian faith. And yet, my President, President Obama, has not spoken a word about him. As we commemorate the 50th anniversary of the historic speech defending freedom by Dr. Martin Luther King, a brave American who gave his life to fight for the freedom that is so fundamental to our way of life, I am extremely disappointed that President Obama has chosen to remain silent on this critical human and religious rights case of an American imprisoned in Iran.”