WASHINGTON (AFP) – The wife of an Iranian-American pastor imprisoned in Iran said Monday she was “extremely disappointed” that US President Barack Obama had remained silent on the case.
The statement by Naghmeh Abedini followed reports from Tehran that an Iranian appeals court had upheld her husband Saeed Abedini’s conviction and eight-year prison term.
“The news out of Iran is devastating to our family,” she said in a statement released by the American Center for Law and Justice, which is representing the family.
Abedini, a naturalized US citizen who converted from Islam to Christianity, was sentenced to prison in January for his role in establishing underground Christian churches in Iran.
His Iran-based lawyer Nasser Sarbazi said the Tehran appeals court confirmed the verdict.
“As a consequence, the sentence of eight years in prison is definitive from now on,” Sarbazi said.
Naghmeh Abedini, who lives in Idaho with the couple’s two children, said the family would be consulting with lawyers to determine whether to appeal to Iran’s Supreme Court or Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the country’s supreme leader.
She called in the meantime for stepped up international pressure in the case, and sharply criticized Obama for not speaking out on her husband’s behalf.
“My husband is serving eight years in the notorious Evin prison and facing daily threats and abuse by radicals because he refuses to deny his Christian faith,” she said.
“And yet, my president, President Obama, has not spoken a word about him,” she said.
“I am extremely disappointed that President Obama has chosen to remain silent on this critical human and religious rights case of an American imprisoned in Iran,” she said.