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WASHINGTON — A Tehran court will next week put on trial an Iranian American Christian on charges that could carry the death penalty, his wife said Thursday, in a case that has raised concern among US officials.
Saeed Abedini, a naturalized US citizen who converted to Christianity, was arrested in September on a return visit to Iran and in a recent letter said he suffered beatings in prison, his wife and his US-based lawyer said.
His wife said that the 32-year-old will face charges of harming national security starting Monday at a trial under Abbas Pir-Abassi, a revolutionary court judge who has been criticized overseas for harsh verdicts.
Naghmeh Abedini voiced hope that international pressure would benefit her husband but said it was “highly possible that put under pressure (by Iran’s leadership) they would give a very long sentence and possibly the death penalty.”
State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland recently said the United States had “serious concerns” over the case and urged Iran to grant Abedini access to an attorney. His wife said he has not seen a lawyer since his arrest.
Iran’s constitution following the 1979 Islamic revolution recognizes the rights of several religious minorities including Christians, but the regime has targeted former Muslims for leaving the faith.
Continue reading via AFP: US Christian faces death in Iran trial: family.