US pastor shut out from own trial in Iran: ACLJ chief counsel

(Photo: American Center for Law and Justice)Pastor Saeed Abedini is seen posing in an undated file photo.

The Revolutionary Court in Iran has not allowed a jailed American pastor of Iranian origin and his lawyer to attend to attend a proceeding where other pastors are testifying in relation to a case accusing him of attempting to undermine the Iranian government by working with house churches.

Pastor Saeed Abedini and his attorney appeared in court on Monday where they presented a case that Pastor Aeed's Christian activities were not a threat to the national security of Iran, according to the American Center for Law and Justice.

The pastor, who lives in Idaho, says he returned to Iran to help establish an orphanage.

"Pastor Saeed and his attorney were shut out of today's proceedings. Not permitted to attend his own trial," Jay Sekulow, ACLJ's chief counsel wrote in a post to the organization's site on Tuesday.

"We have been told that the court summoned other pastors to testify today. We do not yet know what was said in court, but we do know that the Iranian government often uses threats and intimidation to get the testimony it wants.," he said.

On Tuesday, Naghmeh Abedini, the wife of the pastor denied Iranian state news agency ISNA's report that Pastor Saeed would be released on bail.

"This is all a lie by the Iranian media," she told Fox News. "This has been a repeated promise by the Iranian regime since Saeed was first thrown in prison on Sept. 26, 2012. We have presented bail. After the judge told Saeed's lawyer that bail was back on the table, the family in Tehran ran around in circles today to make sure Saeed was let out on bail. But again the bail officer rejected bail."

The Associated Press picked up the ISNA report on Monday, noting Pastor Saeed had posted $116,000 bail.

Last week the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, an independent federal body that monitors religious freedom abroad, called for Pastor Saeed's release, said the national security charges were bogus and called on the Iranian government to release him immediately and unconditioanall.

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