Today, Congressman Trent Franks (R-AZ), Co-Chairman of the International Religious Freedom Caucus, issued the following statement on the sentencing of Pastor Saeed Abedini in Iran:
"The harsh imprisonment, trial, and conviction of American citizen Saeed Abedini yet again reveals how Iran is completely devoid of any semblance of justice towards its own citizens or citizens from any other country. As a further testament to the utter corruption of Iran's rule of law, Mr. Abedini was charged on completely false pretenses: the Iranian judiciary accused Mr. Abedini of threatening the national security of Iran because of his involvement, over ten years ago, in Christian house churches when house churches were free to operate and not perceived as a threat to Iran. All charges against Mr. Abedini are completely ludicrous.
"Not only has an American citizen faced a grossly unfair trial with almost no access to a defense attorney, but an American citizen sits in one of Iran's most brutal prisons and was severely tortured on multiple occasions. We have no assurances the torture will end or that Mr. Abedini will even be permitted to speak with his wife and two young children who live in the United States.
"Iran long disregarded any degree of religious freedom or respect for basic human dignity. The inhumane treatment of Saeed Abedini is just one more example of the egregious human rights violations perpetrated by the Iranian regime.
"The U.S. State Department should exhaust every possible avenue to ensure Saeed Abedini is immediately and fully released. I also call on the State Department to work with our international partners and urge them to advocate on behalf of this American citizen."