President Barack Obama’s inauguration coincided with the beginning of the trial of an American pastor imprisoned in Iran for practicing Christianity. Saeed Abedini became an American citizen after marrying his American wife in 2010 and the State Department has yet to address the arrest.
The Washington Examiner reports:
In court today, the Iranian prosecutor "charged Pastor Saeed with attempting to undermine the Iranian government by creating a network of Christian house churches," the ACLJ reported. Abedini was born in Iran and converted to Christianity in 2000.
The State Department refuses to discuss Abedini’s case, even to call for his release. A Republican aide told The Examiner that the State Department privately claims that it cannot speak publicly about Abedini because he has not signed a privacy release form delivered by a U.S. consular officer — "which is not possible due to the fact that the U.S. does not have diplomatic relations with Iran," the aide notes. Another congressional source said that Abedini’s wife has submitted the necessary form through a power of attorney.
Even though the State Department has been silent about Abedini’s case, Obama’s National Security Council called for the American’s release. At this time the length of the trial is unknown but the case has been assigned to "Judge Abbas Pir-Abbasi, also known as ‘the hanging judge.’"