(JNS.org) A 32-year-old Iranian-American pastor who is being held at Iran’s notorious Evin Prison because of his Christian faith will go on trial next week before a judge known for handing out harsh sentences, Fox News reported.
The Reverend Saeed Abedini, a naturalized U.S. citizen and Christian convert, was arrested in September while visiting his family in Iran. Abedini will face one of Iran’s most notorious “hanging judges” on Jan. 21 on charges of compromising national security.
Abedini is one of the leaders of the underground church movement in Iran. Made up of Christian converts, the movement claims to operate more than 100 churches in 30 Iranian cities, with more than 2,000 members.
In a recent letter to his wife, Abedini described the mixed signals he is receiving during his imprisonment.
“One day there are intense pains after beatings in interrogations, the next day they are nice to you and offer you candy,” he wrote.
Under Shariah law, a Muslim who converts to Christianity in some cases can be punished by death. The Iranian government is known to be especially harsh on Muslims who have converted to other faiths.
The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) is working with the U.S. government to secure Abedini’s release.