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  • » 01/18/2013, 00.00

    IRAN

    Iran, a Muslim who converted to Christianity risks the death penalty



    Saeed Abedini, a U.S. citizen of Iranian origin, is accused of undermining national security. The trial will begin on January 21. Judge will be Pir-Abbassi Abbas, responsible for various human rights violations.

    Tehran (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Saeed Abedini, a U.S. citizen of Iranian origin who converted to Christianity arrested in September on a trip to his native country risks the death penalty. The man, 32, is accused of undermining national security. His wife Naghmeh Abedini has reported the news. According to the woman, her husband's trial will begin on January 21 and will be chaired by Abbas Pir-Abassi, a judge of the revolutionary court accused of human rights violations for the harsh sentences handed down to the young protagonists in the 2009 demonstrations against President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. In 2010 he condemned Jila Baniyaghoob, journalist and human rights activist to 30 years in prison.

    Born in Iran, Saeed Abedini has lived for years in the States with his wife and two children, but has maintained close ties with his country of origin. The problems with the Iranian authorities began in 2009 after his conversion to Christianity.

    During a visit the police arrested him, but released him after a few months, making him sign a document where the man promised not to proselytize or carry out religious activities. After this episode Abedini visited Iran nine more times, without any problems. In recent years he was helping some friends to build an orphanage in a small town in the north of the country. During the last trip in September 2012, the police again arrested him, accusing him of violating the agreement.

    In recent months, Victoria Nuland, spokesperson for the American Secretary of State, urged the Iranian government to grant the man a lawyer. But according to his wife, no lawyer has ever visited her husband.

    The Iranian Constitution recognizes the rights of some religious minorities, including Christians, but also punishes Muslims who change religion with death.

     

     

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    See also

    09/03/2010 IRAN
    Isfahan: Protestant clergyman tortured for “converting Muslims”
    During a visit in prison, the pastor’s wife saw he had signs of torture. He could be executed. An anti-Protestant crackdown is underway in Isfahan. The regime’s fight against proselytising is coupled with fears that Christian gatherings might host its opponents.

    06/04/2005 iran
    Iran, a Christian convert to face death penalty for apostasy


    20/10/2010 IRAN
    Iranian Protestant pastor, held in prison for months, risks death penalty for apostasy
    Youcef Nadarkhani's wife was released a few days ago after four months of detention. The arrest comes as evangelical Christians complain of increased pressure against them, an unprecedented persecution since the advent of the ayatollahs' regime.

    15/06/2010 AFGHANISTAN – INDIA
    Appeal for Afghan Christians, sentenced to death for their faith
    A group of Afghan Christian refugees, who escaped to India to save their lives, describe the hardships they face in their homeland, where Muslim converts to Christianity are put to death. They call on the international community to put pressure on the Afghan government to spare those sentenced to death.

    10/12/2004 UZBEKISTAN – HUMAN RIGHTS
    Life is God's gift, says Orthodox Christian woman fighting the death penalty




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